(Reuters) - West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce believes Arsenal’s dismal start to the Premier League season has left them in a fight to remain in the English top flight.
Allardyce’s 19th-placed side are also in the thick of the relegation battle and host Arsenal on Jan. 2, following clashes with champions Liverpool and promoted Leeds United in the busy festive period.
Asked if Arsenal - who are 15th with 14 points after making their worst start to a season since 1974-75 - were among their rivals to avoid the drop, Allardyce told reporters: “If they’re in the bottom eight at the moment, yes. Absolutely.”
Former England boss Allardyce said that Arsenal’s League Cup exit at the hands of Manchester City in Tuesday’s 4-1 quarter-finals defeat would have further affected the morale of Mikel Arteta’s side.
Arsenal have lost five of their last seven league games.
“Getting beaten again ... though it’s not in the league - as it does with our players, drains the confidence of Arsenal’s players. Of course it will,” Allardyce said.
“They’ll be wondering what’s hit them, they’ll be wondering why they’re down there. They’ll 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 we can push at Arsenal when they play us ... and try and beat them or anybody in the bottom eight.”