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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

Hodgson targets defence

Roy Hodgson is demanding West Brom improve their defensive record if they are to avoid being involved in a Premier League relegation fight this season.

Albion finished 11th last season - their first back in the top flight - but conceded 71 goals in 38 games with only relegated Blackpool (78) letting in more.

Hodgson knows the Baggies will be fortunate to escape the drop if there is a repeat of that performance during the next 10 months.

He said: ''If you are talking about soft goals and defensive errors and goals conceded, we've got a lot of work to do, all of us, myself and the coaching staff with the players we've got.

''It would be wrong to try and attribute those goals or defensive frailties to one person or two people. It's a team thing. We've got to concede less free-kicks, maybe concede less corners, defend them better, and in general be stronger defensively.''

Hodgson, whose side face champions Manchester United in the opening game, added: ''You can't go every year into a Premier League season letting in as many goals as we did last year and expect to survive.

''It was nearer 70 than the 40-50 most people expect. We have to improve that.''

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