West Brom boss Sam Allardyce outlined what he described as the “real problem” that persistently disrupted their chances of beating the drop.
West Brom were relegated back to the Championship for the joint-record fifth time along with Norwich City. The Baggies entered the evening knowing a defeat would seal their fate, but despite their best efforts, could not avoid what felt like the inevitable.
Mattheus Pereira scored a stunning solo goal that began deep within his own half, but the Brazilian’s brilliance was not enough as Arsenal bagged three unanswered goals to bounce back from their midweek disappointment.
The defeat also ended Allardyce’s streak of never having suffered relegation while managing in the Premier League.
Speaking to BT Sport after the match, Allardyce said: “It’s not sunk in yet [relegation], but I’m sure I’ll wake up tomorrow and realise the situation. I’m bitterly disappointed we’re not still in the fight.
“I’m not saying we would have avoided relegation but we should have been closer, we should have taken it down to the last three games, based on how we performed. The creating of chances has been there but the converting has not.
“We had [enough] time to pull it round,” Allardyce added. “Our real problem was not beating the bottom-six sides when we came up against them.
“The results against Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City should have been bonus points.”
Bartley already focussing on swift return
West Brom’s Kyle Bartley also spoke to the press, telling BBC Sport: “Massively disappointed. It is time to focus on these next three games, get as much momentum as possible to make sure we come straight back up next season.
“I am really proud of the way the boys kept going. It would have been so easy to fold out there and lost four or five nil but everyone kept going.
“Hopefully we can get the manager situation sorted out as soon as possible.
“We need to try and take as much momentum into next season as possible.”