West Brom manager Sam Allardyce turned the heat up on Mikel Arteta by insisting Arsenal are relegation rivals for the Baggies. The Gunners are in a torrid run of form, with their last win in the Premier League coming against Manchester United on November 1.
They have slipped to 15th in the table – four points above the drop zone – and questions have been asked about the future of manager Arteta at the club.
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The Spaniard claims to have the backing of the club and revealed recently that he has already begun planning for the next two transfer windows. However, any transfer plans would be tossed out of the window were they to be relegated – and Baggies boss Allardyce feels that is a possibility.
Asked if he saw Arsenal as a rival in the battle for Premier League survival, Allardyce said: “If they are in the bottom right at the moment, yes. Absolutely.” The Gunners were thrashed by Manchester City in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, and Allardyce feels that defeat will be a further hit to their confidence.
“Getting beaten [by Manchester City], even though it is not in the Premier League, as it would do with ours, drains the confidence of Arsenal’s players,” Allardyce said. “They will be wondering what has hit them. They will be wondering why they are down there. They will be wondering what it takes to get out of that position. I know what it takes. I hope to convince my players to respond to that.”
Allardyce only took charge of West Brom last week but is hoping to instill his methods on the squad prior to their meeting with Arsenal on January 2. “I hope we can push at Arsenal when we play them because they have a lack of confidence,” he said. “We will try to beat them, or anybody in the bottom right.”
Prior to taking on Arsenal in their first game of 2021, the Baggies have a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool and a home game with Leeds United. They are currently second from bottom in the table with seven points and require at least two wins to climb out of the relegation spots.