Sam Allardyce certainly seems to be very happy with himself far too often.
A cocky manager who is, in many ways, fairly old-fashioned, he recently claimed he was able to get under Arsène Wenger’s skin all too easily thanks to a good record against the Arsenal boss.
Unfortunately for him he was wrong, and history suggests he will continue to be wrong this weekend. The Sunderland manager has managed Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United in the FA Cup since he took charge of his first top flight game.
Over the course of 10 seasons at the top, starting in 2014/15, Allardyce has won just seven FA Cup ties. He has been involved in just 16 rounds of the competition (plus seven replays) in 10 seasons.
Back in 2009 his Blackburn Rovers side only had to beat Blyth Spartans and Sunderland (following a replay) to reach the fifth round. He’s made that round on three occasions, but been knocked out in the third round four times. The only FA Cup quarter-final Allardyce has ever played came in his first season at Bolton, when the club were already in the fourth round by the time he was manager.
Current holders Arsenal have won the competition on more occasions than any other club. Since Arsène Wenger became manager in 1996, his side has won all 18 of their third round ties, the first of which came against Sunderland (after a replay) in 1997.
For all the talk of being a good manager, Allardyce’s cup record is pathetic. I understand his focus on keeping his teams in the Premier League – which will, again, see him play a weakened side when Sunderland visit the Emirates Stadium on Saturday – but even then he hasn’t been able to grind out results? Unimmpressive to say the least.