Sam Allardyce claims he has no memory of gleefully declaring that Arsenal are ‘absolutely’ in a relegation battle with his abysmal West Brom side.

West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal - Premier League - The Hawthorns West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce on the touchline during the Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Copyright: Tim Keeton
West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal – Premier League – The Hawthorns West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce on the touchline during the Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Copyright: Tim Keeton

Arsenal went to the Hawthornes on the back of two straight wins for the first time since the opening two games of the season. Their tails were up but, as always with Arsenal, a fragility lies not far beneath the surface and it’s one Allardyce has taken advantage of before, though nowhere near as often as he’d like you to think.

Talk about relegation was not confined to just the papers, pundits and opposition managers, that’s true, but it was the glee with which Allardyce answered the question that caught most people’s attention.

Speaking before the match, Allardyce replied, “Absolutely,” when asked if Arsenal were in a relegation battle. “They haven’t won a Premier League game for almost double figures.

“Getting beaten last night [against Manchester City] even though not in the Premier League drains confidence of Arsenal’s players. They will be wondering what has hit them.”

Things come at you fast in the Premier League.

West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal - Premier League - The Hawthorns Arsenal s Kieran Tierney (centre) celebrates scoring his side s first goal of the game during the Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Copyright: Michael Regan
West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal – Premier League – The Hawthorns Arsenal s Kieran Tierney (centre) celebrates scoring his side s first goal of the game during the Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Copyright: Michael Regan

Goals from Kieran Tierney, Bukayo Saka and an Alexandre Lacazette double left West Brom flat out on the snow-covered pitch on Saturday evening, knowing the scoreline flattered them far more than it did Arsenal.

So, did Allardyce want to walk back his comments with Arsenal moving up to 11th place, just six points from third, some 12 points above the relegation zone and 15 ahead of the Baggies?

Don’t be daft. That would require Allardyce to be someone he isn’t.

Interestingly, Sam Dean in the Sunday Telegraph opted to frame Allardyce not remembering something he said to the world’s media as ‘one form of retraction’ or ‘evidence he didn’t mean it’.

Sunday Telegraph, 3 January 2021
Sunday Telegraph, 3 January 2021
Sunday Telegraph, 3 January 2021
Sunday Telegraph, 3 January 2021

Why can’t they just call it for what it is?

Sam Allardyce’s record against Arsenal

Sam Allardyce likes to act as if he Arsenal’s kryptonite but that story is so far from the truth it’s laughable.

He’s managed against no club more than he has Arsenal, and he is still rubbish at it.

Across 35 games, Allardyce has now lost to Arsenal as manager of eight clubs – Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham, Sunderland, Crystal palace, Everton and, of course, West Brom.

He has won just six of them, losing 21.

Allardyce has also lost his last eight in a row in the Premier League against the Gunners.

The 66-year-old also faced and lost more to Arsene Wenger than any other manager in his career. 34 games, 69 goals conceded, 20 defeats.

No wonder he’s a dick about it all.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.