Blackburn Rovers boss Sam Allardyce has reopened his rift with Arsene Wenger by accusing the Arsenal manager of trying to influence referees.
Wenger has often criticised the robust style of play Allardyce's teams employ although the Gunners did manage to beat Rovers 2-1 at Ewood Park last month.
However, Allardyce has been incensed by the Frenchman's recent comments when he criticised the heavy challenges that are being made on his players following an injury to Abou Diaby.
Allardyce said:"Arsene has most of the media in his pocket now and is almost – almost – affecting the officials so that you can't tackle an Arsenal player. That's something he's very clever at working on and it's almost working in his favour, you can see that.
"Read his interview before the Stoke City v Aston Villa match, what he said and how he said it – he's a very, very clever man in terms of influencing referees, officials and everybody in football.
"He can't be brought up for it because it's about another match – rather just before he plays us. There's a perception that we kick everybody and Arsenal's motivation is that you can't tackle us as you aren't supposed to.
"In terms of saying people are trying to injure players he's trying to influence, through the media, the referees and that's something they shouldn't get sucked in to.
"He's deflecting attention from the situation which says the game of football is a contact sport. You have to try to win the ball at all costs and if someone doesn't get it quite right people get injured.
"It was much more apparent in my day when people used to go out to try to hurt an opponent every week, but today it very rarely happens.
"I completely deny that my team deliberately injures players, certainly not. In the Premier League the commitment and speed unfortunately brings players together at such pace that it's almost impossible to avoid injuries."