West Brom currently languish in 19th place in the Premier League, 10 points adrift from safety with just four games left to play.
Even by Sam Allardyce’s standards, an escape from this position would be nothing short of remarkable.
The Baggies will have little choice but to keep fighting until their fate is confirmed, starting with a trip to Arsenal on Sunday evening.
Allardyce may fancy his chances against a Gunners side that crashed out of the Europa League to Villarreal on Thursday and have displayed some of their most dismal home form in recent memory, but he’ll be one key player light for the tie.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles is ineligible for the clash, as he is on loan at West Brom from Arsenal, the full-back turned midfielder joined the Baggies on loan in the latter stages of the January transfer window after limited opportunities in his favoured central-midfield role under Mikel Arteta.
Due to Premier League guidelines, West Brom will have to win the midfield battle without him – as league rules state how on-loan players cannot play against their parent club if the fixture is a league match.
The same player would, however, be allowed to feature against his parent club in a domestic cup competition, providing he hadn’t already played in the same competition for his parent side.
The England international has impressed since joining Allardyce’s side, with his highlight coming in West Brom’s 3-0 win at home to Southampton, with the Arsenal-loanee securing the man of the match award.
A loss at the Emirates would confirm West Brom’s fate, sending them straight back down to the Championship after just one season in the top flight, further enhancing their reputation as a ‘yo-yo’ club who often go up just to come down.
Arsenal, meanwhile, know that any hope of European football next season was all but quashed after Thursday night’s debacle, though there is a slim chance Arteta’s men could creep into the Europa League spots providing other results go their way.