West Brom boss Sam Allardyce considers Arsenal as relegation rivals

Sam Allardyce says he currently sees Arsenal as one of West Brom's relegation rivals.

The Gunners, victorious only once in their last 10 Premier League outings and beaten 4-1 by Manchester City in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday, are currently 15th in the table with 14 points from as many games – four points clear of the relegation zone.

Albion are second from bottom with seven points – five adrift of safety – and host Arsenal on January 2, following matches at champions Liverpool on Sunday and at home against Leeds two days later.

Allardyce, who was appointed as Baggies boss last week, stressed at his press conference on Thursday the importance of the team taking points against other sides in the bottom eight in their battle to stay up.

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FILE PHOTO - Britain Football Soccer - England - Sam Allardyce Press Conference - Hilton Hotel, St. George's Park, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire - 25/7/16England manager Sam Allardyce poses after the press conferenceAction Images via Reuters / Andrew Couldridge/File Photo
Everton manager Sam Allardyce gestures, during the English Premier League soccer match between Stoke City and Everton, at the bet365 Stadium, in Stoke, England, Saturday March 17, 2018. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, left and Everton manager Sam Allardyce react, during the English Premier League soccer match between Everton and Manchester United, at Goodison Park, in Liverpool, England, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)
Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce celebrate, during the English Premier League soccer match between Crystal Palace and Hull City, at Selhurst Park, London, Sunday May 14, 2017. (Paul Harding/PA via AP)
FILE - In this Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014 file photo, West Ham United's manager Sam Allardyce holds his head as his player missed a chance to score against Tottenham Hotspur during their English Premier League soccer match at Upton Park, London. England manager Sam Allardyce has left his position after one match in charge of national team, it was reported on Tuesday, Sept.27, 2016. (AP Photo/Sang Tan, File)
West Ham's manager Sam Allardyce watches during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham and Swansea at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
West Ham United's manager Sam Allardyce gestures as he watches his team play against Manchester United during their English Premier League soccer match at Upton Park, London, Saturday, March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
FILE - In this Wednesday Jan. 8, 2014 file photo, West Ham's manager Sam Allardyce takes his seat before his team's English League Cup semifinal soccer match against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England. West Ham was on the crest of a wave mid-season, standing fourth in the table at Christmas time but a disastrous second half of the campaign – just three wins in the last 20 matches – has seen them drop to 11th. (AP Photo/Jon Super, File)
West Ham United's manager Sam Allardyce calls out to his players as he watches his team play against Tottenham Hotspur during their English League Cup quarterfinal soccer match at White Hart Lane, London, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
Sam Allardyce outside his home in Durham northern England , the morning after he was left his manager's job at Newcastle United in which he lasted only 8 months, Thursday Jan 10, 2008. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Newcastle United's new manager Sam Allardyce attends a press conference at St James' Park, Newcastle, England. Tuesday May. 15, 2007. Allardyce takes over from Glenn Roeder who resigned as Newcastle boss last week . (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Newcastle's manager Sam Allardyce gestures during their pre-season friendly soccer match against Celtic at St James' Park, Newcastle, England, Thursday July 26, 2007. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Newcastle United's new manager Sam Allardyce talks to the media during his press conference at St James' Park, Newcastle, England. Tuesday May. 15, 2007. Allardyce takes over from Glenn Roeder who resigned as Newcastle boss last week . (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Bolton's manager Sam Allardyce, right, rues a late miss by his Greek striker Stelios as Marseilles manager Jean Fernandez looks on during their UEFA Cup last 32 round first leg soccer match at The Reebok Stadium, Bolton, England, Wednesday Feb. 15, 2006. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Bolton's manager Sam Allardyce during a press conference at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton, England, Thursday Jan. 5, 2006. Bolton will face Watford in an FA Cup 3rd round soccer match this weekend. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
FILE PHOTO - Britain Football Soccer - England Training - St George's Park - 3/9/16England manager Sam Allardyce during trainingAction Images via Reuters / Lee Smith/File Photo
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And when asked if he regarded Arsenal as rivals in terms of trying to get out of the current predicament, he said: "If they are in the bottom eight at the moment, yes, absolutely.

"They've only won maybe one in the last 10 or so, and it appears their big results have come in the Europa League. And of course getting beat again last night, even though it's not in the league, as it does with our players, drains the confidence of Arsenal's players, of course it will.

"Because they'll be wondering what has hit them, why they are down there, and what it is 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, and I hope we can push on Arsenal when they play us because they've got a lack of confidence, and try to beat them – or anybody in the bottom eight."

He added: "(Arsenal boss) Mikel Arteta would not think they'd be in that position at this moment in time, but he seems a strong character, seems to not move away from what his beliefs are – which is what we all have to do."

Regarding matches against teams from 13th downwards, Allardyce said: "Our points total needs to be gained against the bottom eight, more than anywhere else.

"If we finish on the top of the bottom eight teams, then we won't get relegated I don't think – if we can beat them or draw, and certainly not lose to any of them, and we finish at the top of that table, we'll almost guarantee our safety."

West Brom were beaten 3-0 at home by Aston Villa on Sunday in their first game since bringing in Allardyce as successor to the sacked Slaven Bilic, playing with 10 men after skipper Jake Livermore's first-half sending off.

Allardyce, who has managed seven other clubs in the top flight, said: "I think the position we're in, and the fact of how many points we've got, with the games played, makes it as difficult a job as I've ever had.

"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 they play, to get points on the board as quickly as possible, and then at the end of this month, the window will be open.

"I think doing trade in January might be a crucial part of whether we can stay in the league or not."

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