Sam Allardyce described his task of keeping West Brom in the Premier League as ‘as difficult a job as I’ve ever had’.
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 the bottom in the table and already in a fight for Premier League survival. Allardyce told reporters on Wednesday his team would need to avoid defeat against the other teams at the bottom 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.”
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.”
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.