West Ham: Allardyce says West Brom is "must win"
West Ham's Christmas cheer was dampened as they slumped to a 3-1 loss at the hands of table toppers Arsenal at Upton Park on Saturday afternoon and drifted into the relegation zone for the first time this season.
Manager Sam Allardyce was left to bemoan a catalogue of missed chances before Arsenal came back from behind to win.
"Matt Jarvis, Carlton Cole and Joey O'Brien's chances were missed opportunities," said Allardyce.
"It was a good opportunity to beat the team at the top of the league, but unfortunately, we didn't take it.
"Its always about the points you get on the day, not the teams around you. You've got to get the same amount of points as how many games you played, its as simple as that. You can't be catching up in this league, and it seems to be getting wider and wider with each game."
In the lead up to the crucial game against West Brom at Upton Park in 48 hours, Allardyce said they have to find the performance against Fulham a month ago and play like that this Saturday.
"We've got to believe we can convert the chances like we did against Fulham a few weeks ago," he said. "West Brom is becoming a must win. We've got to go all out without being over-anxious and over-adventurous.
"This is a six pointer with the away game at Fulham after Saturday. We need to close the gap on the teams that are above us. If we do pick up three points, then that's 17 in 19 games, which isn't good enough.
"We can't listen to relegation talk at this stage, the 'R' word never stops when you're in there, but we've got to ignore it."
Striker Carlton Cole scored his second goal in as many games to put West Ham in front before Theo Walcott fired home two for Arsenal and Lukas Podolski sealed the win for the north Londoners.