Top 10 finish is beyond us, says West Ham boss Allardyce
14 April 2014, 16:07
London - West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce has ruled out a top 10 finish this season but believes his side can exploit a fatigued Arsenal ahead of their Premier League clash at The Emirates on Tuesday.
Eleventh-placed West Ham, who have 37 points from 33 matches, trail 10th-placed Stoke City by six points but can close that gap with victory over Arsenal.
With West Ham having won only twice in their last six league matches, and slipping to a 2-1 defeat to leaders Liverpool in their last outing, Allardyce does not envisage finishing 10th for a second consecutive season.
"I don't think that we'll get a top 10 finish now," Allardyce told reporters on Monday. "I think the best we would try and get is to catch up with Stoke.
"Stoke have had a fantastic run recently and we've got to try and improve our position to get where they are."
Arsenal required penalties to knock Championship side Wigan Athletic out of the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday and that gruelling victory has taken its toll on their squad.
Manager Arsene Wenger has injury concerns over midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin), full-back Nacho Monreal (dead leg) and Aaron Ramsey (muscle tightness), while forward Lukas Podolski is also a doubt.
Allardyce has some sympathy for his counterpart's depleted ranks, but he will be hoping to take full advantage of a weary Arsenal at The Emirates.
"Certainly with Arsenal's game load and some of the injuries they have, then yes they will be weaker than they possibly could be," added the West Ham boss, who could be without captain Kevin Nolan due to a hamstring injury.
"If we can seek an advantage by those problems that they have then it gives us a better chance of getting a result.
"It won't be any easier than it ever has been to get a result at the Emirates because the players that are actually playing won't fatigue until later in the game."
Arsenal started the season in fine fettle and topped the table during the early stages of the season before their results started to slide.
With criticism of Wenger intensifying by Arsenal fans there have been questions surrounding his future, but with a place in the top four still possible and the chance of FA Cup glory, Allardyce defended the 64-year-old Frenchman.
"I think that as always the man's career speaks for itself," added Allardyce.
"Many people have probably been disappointed that he hasn't won anything over the last few years, but he can certainly put that right this year with his FA Cup final appearance.
"I'm sure that a lot of the focus is finishing in the top four, but also making sure they win the FA Cup. Compared to other years, that would then make for a more successful season."