Everton boxing clever ahead of Arsenal clash

November 7, 2006

Everton assistant boss Alan Irvine is not anticipating a confrontation between Arsene Wenger and Blues manager David Moyes.

Wenger brings his Arsenal side to a venue they have not enjoyed in recent seasons for tomorrow's Carling Cup fourth-round tie.

It will be Wenger's first step back into a technical area since his infamous dust-up with West Ham chief Alan Pardew on Sunday.

Wenger and Pardew became embroiled in a touchline pushing bout after West Ham's winner in the final minutes.

Irvine had sympathy for both protagonists, saying: 'Alan seemed to be celebrating with his own staff, but Arsene must have felt that he did get near to the Arsenal bench.

'Clearly Alan has apologised for anything he did do wrong.

'He probably didn't mean anything by it, but Arsene took offence. It just blew up in a way it shouldn't have done.

'I do not think it will ever happen again and I would be surprised if they have not already spoken and sorted out the whole issue.

'I will be very surprised if we need any special policing on the bench for our game!

'It is not typical of Arsene to appear to get upset because he is always very cool and calm. Clearly it was something that blew up, something everyone involved wished hadn't happened and won't happen again.

'Everyone is entitled to celebrate a goal - myself and David do. It is a great thrill when your team scores.

'But when you have been under the sort of pressure that Alan Pardew has, everything is going to come out.

'What you don't do is to celebrate the goal in front of the opposition's bench, that is not something that should happen.

'Celebrate by jumping around with your own staff, fine, but there is no need to get involved with the opposition.'

Irvine took a light-hearted view of confronting Wenger across the Goodison Park technical area, saying: 'I don't think we will need any boxing gloves! Obviously that was something that should not have happened.

'It was understandable to some extent because Alan Pardew has been under a great deal of pressure, and as he said he was a bit over-zealous when West Ham scored.

'It happened in the heat of the moment and Alan has apologised for it. He no doubt wishes it hadn't happened in that way.

'But did he mean to insult the Arsenal bench? I don't think so, it was just a reaction at the time.

'I would think this will be resolved well before the two teams play again and I am sure Alan will make sure that there is another apology, but I doubt it is something that will carry over into our game.'

Everton and their fans can be extremely inhospitable on big cup occasions, and Moyes wants more of the same.

Moyes said: 'I keep hearing from other managers that Goodison Park is the toughest ground to come to in the Premiership, what with the proximity of the supporters to the pitch and the noise that they make, especially in night games.

'That's what I have heard and it is something for the supporters to be proud of. They can certainly help us and we know that Goodison is a special place for this type of occasion.

'We haven't been involved in too many big cup ties in recent years and the draws haven't been kind to us.

'Maybe it hasn't been kind to us this time - but it hasn't been kind to Arsenal, either.

'It is an important game and we are looking to try and get through. We will do everything that we can to get the right result.'

Veteran David Weir is available again after his head injury, but is unlikely to get any closer than the bench.