Sam Allardyce says Arsenal are 'absolutely' relegation rivals for West Brom after Mikel Arteta's early season woes

SAM ALLARDYCE says struggling Arsenal are 'absolutely' West Brom's relegation rivals this season.

Big Sam has just been appointed Baggies boss and has already stuck the knife into the struggling Gunners who are 15th at Christmas.

Allardyce replaced Slaven Bilic at the Hawthornes last week with the Midlands side in the relegation zone.

They are 19th with seven points after losing 3-0 at home to Aston Villa in Allardyce's first game in charge.

But they are just four places and seven points behind Arteta's side who have had their worst start to a campaign since 1974-75.

Asked if he views the North Londoners as relegation rivals ahead of the Baggies' trip to Liverpool on December 27, Allardyce said: "If they are in the bottom eight at the moment, yes. Absolutely.

"Getting beaten again [Arsenal's 4-1 Carabao Cup defeat to Man City] – 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."

SunSport revealed a Premier League Super-computer's prediction of the table at the end of the season – with Arsenal coming 16th and West Brom still going down.

But Allardyce – who has never been relegated from the Prem as a manager – has faith in his ability to keep the Baggies up.

He added: "The position we're in and 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 that they play to get points on the board as quickly as possible.

"And then obviously by the end of this month the window will be open.

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

Allardyce is in line for a £1.5million bonus if he keeps West Brom up.

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