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Football Reporting


Arsenal are relegation rivals after poor start

West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce has said that Arsenal’s dismal start to the Premier League season has left them in a battle to remain in the English top-flight.

Allardyce’s 19th-placed side are also in the thick of the relegation fight and host Arsenal on Jan. 2, following clashes with champions Liverpool and promoted Leeds United in the busy festive period.

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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 Carabao Cup exit at the hands of Manchester City in Tuesday’s 4-1 quarterfinals defeat would have further affected the morale of Mikel Arteta’s side.

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“They will be wondering what has hit them,” Allardyce added. “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.”

Following their Boxing Day clash with Chelsea and a trip to Brighton on Dec. 29, Arsenal travel to West Brom and Allardyce is confident that his side can come away with a positive result.

“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 eight.”

Arsenal have lost five of their last seven league games and after the defeat against City, Arteta admitted that the club is in “big trouble” if they cannot turn things around.

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