Sam Allardyce finally suffered the sinking feeling of relegation from the Premier League after Arsenal beat West Brom 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium.
Albion needed a victory in north London on Sunday to keep their slim hopes of avoiding the drop alive, but the Gunners sent them down with three games to play.
Emile Smith Rowe put Arsenal in front with his first Premier League goal and Nicolas Pepe added a stunning second six minutes later.
Matheus Pereira pulled one back midway through the second half, but Willian rubbed salt into Albion’s wounds by scoring an elusive first Arsenal goal late on with a brilliant free-kick.
Victory for Arsenal, who are facing a tough task to qualify for European football next season, shattered Allardyce’s proud record of having never been relegated from the top flight.
Albion started like a team knowing they were entering the last chance saloon, with Pereira curling just beyond the post before drilling wide for a second time on the break.
A magnificent last-ditch tackle from Darnell Furlong denied the lively Bukayo Saka at the other end, but the England international was the architect for Arsenal’s 29th-minute opener.
Willian played Saka in down the left, and the winger’s cross was clinically volleyed in by the onrushing Smith Rowe
Things swiftly went from bad to worse for beleaguered Albion – Pepe afforded the space and time down the right to bend a sublime left-footed strike into the far corner.
Pepe continued to torment, delivering a cross which Gabriel Martinelli and Smith Rowe somehow failed to convert but, with Hal Robson-Kanu perhaps fortunate to escape with a booking when he flung an arm at Mohamed Elneny, Pereira gave West Brom a lifeline.
The Brazilian was allowed to surge forward unchallenged before drilling a left-footed effort into the bottom-right corner.
Albion’s fate was confirmed in the 90th minute, though, with Willian sending a superb free-kick beyond Sam Johnstone.