Sam Allardyce says Arsenal are “absolutely” in a relegation fight given their position in the Premier League table.
The Baggies head to Anfield this weekend to take on defending champions Liverpool, live on Super Sunday, with just seven points taken from their first 14 league games.
Their tally puts them second from bottom in the table and already in fight for Premier League survival. Allardyce told reporters on Wednesday his team would need to avoid defeat against the other teams in the bottom eight of the table if they were to stay up this season.
Asked if that meant Arsenal – in 15th place on 14 points – were a relegation rival, Allardyce said: “If they are in the bottom eight at the moment, yes. Absolutely.”
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Arsenal have not won a league game since a 1-0 victory against Manchester United on November 1, and Allardyce said Tuesday night’s 4-1 Carabao Cup defeat to Manchester City will have further dented the confidence of Mikel Arteta’s side.
“Getting beaten again [Tuesday] night – even though it is not in the league – as it does with our players, drains the confidence of Arsenal’s players. Of course it will.
“They will be wondering what’s hit them, they will be wondering why they are down there. They will be wondering what it’s going to take to get out of that position. I know what it takes, I hope I can convince the players to respond to what I say on what it takes to get out of it.
“I hope that we can push at Arsenal when they play us because they have a lack of confidence, and try and beat them or anybody in the bottom eight.”
West Bromwich Albion
Allardyce is aware of how difficult it will be to keep West Brom up this term. They have conceded 29 goals this season already, only Leeds’ recent mauling at the hands of Manchester United sparing them top spot in that department, and the 10 goals they’ve scored is only better than Burnley and Sheffield United who have eight each.
“The position we’re in and how many points we’ve got with the games played makes it as difficult a job as I’ve ever had,” Allardyce said.
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“The only way to overcome that is obviously these players here at the moment play better, be more organised and be more consistent in the way that they play to get points on the board as quickly as possible.
“And then obviously by the end of this month the window will be open.
“Doing trade in January might be a crucial part of whether we can stay in the league or not.”
By the time Sunday’s game against Liverpool kicks off, it will be 1344 days since Jurgen Klopp’s side last lost at home in the league. The last loss they suffered was a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace on April 23, 2017, with Allardyce in charge of the Eagles that day.
Asked for the blueprint to beating Liverpool at Anfield, Allardyce joked: “Score more goals than them!”
“I think the surprise was that we actually went 1-0 down pretty early in the first half,” he said. “But I think the belief in the team came back; us scoring the equaliser just before half-time.
“Christian Benteke at that particular time obviously wanted to prove something at Anfield because he’d just been let go from Liverpool to Crystal Palace that season. Christian popped up with a really good goal from a corner.
“So let’s try as best we possibly can. I’m not saying we’re likely to win with that record, but we can get a result.
“If we miraculously got a victory against Liverpool at Anfield, which can happen at any time in this league, it would be a wonderful achievement by the players.”
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