West Ham manager Sam Allardyce insists his side are not yet safe from relegation ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Arsenal.
Allardyce’s men are seven points clear of the Premier League drop zone with five games to play following a run that has seen them lose just four of their last 11 matches.
The London club are almost certain of a place in the top flight next season, and can move on to the coveted 40-point mark with a surprise win at the Emirates Stadium.
But, ahead of a meeting with an Arsenal side locked in a battle with Everton for the final UEFA Champions League place, Allardyce is adamant that West Ham still have to work to do to ensure survival.
“The success of the teams below us over the weekend and the results that were surprisingly pulled off mean that we still look down because we’re not mathematically safe,” he said on Monday.
Arsenal – who won Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final with Wigan Athletic on penalties – head into the game with a number of injury concerns and without a victory in four Premier League matches.
However, despite their problems, Allardyce knows his side will still face a difficult task to take all three points, especially with captain Kevin Nolan doubtful due to a hamstring problem.
“They (Arsenal) keep a squad of 25 international players and they’re playing at the Emirates, so whatever difficulties they have it’s still a hugely tough fixture for ourselves,” he added.
“Whatever team (Arsenal manager) Arsene (Wenger) puts out, we still have to play at our best to get a result, particularly on their own patch.
“Kevin Nolan is our problem at the moment. He came off with a hamstring against Liverpool, obviously that’s one that we have to be very careful about.
“It’s unusual for Kevin to sustain a muscle injury, I think it’s the first of his career, but we’ll be very careful about how we handle him.
“Kevin is going to desperately want to play, so we’ll probably wait until tomorrow to see how he is.”
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