The plight of West Brom has worsened as their search for a first Premier League since August continues, thanks to Carlos Carvalhal picking up a win in his first game in charge of Swansea it has meant that the Baggies have dropped to the foot of the table.
It is now 18 games without a league win for the West Midlands outfit as the new manager bounce from Alan Pardew has been all but non existent, if you were to look at the glass half full you could say that the former Palace boss has earned three draws from his first six matches in charge.
But on the flipside the fact that he has not managed to secure a first win since being installed at The Hawthorns can only be a concern especially as the slide down the table continues, however should they find that win today they would move out of the relegation zone.
Such is the tightness at the bottom of the table that even after not winning their last 18 games they can end their year outside of the bottom three and give themselves a perfect platform in which to start 2018, however today they play host to sixth placed Arsenal.
Last time out they managed to hold Everton to a draw in a game which although was a good defensive performance also highlighted the fact that they need some attacking additions in the New Year. If that is to be the case though it looks like it might have to be a case of selling to buy.
Jonny Evans is subject to continued interest from Manchester City and Alan Pardew has gone on record that it may be the Northern Irish defender who is the sacrificial lamb so to speak as he looks to bolster his attacking options in their bid to beat the drop.
Today’s opponents Arsenal have the opportunity to move up to fifth in the table what with Tottenham not playing in this particular gameweek, they currently find themselves four points behind Liverpool who extended the gap after beating Leicester yesterday.
Thursday saw the Gunners get the better of Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park thanks to a 3-2 win with Chilean international Alexis Sanchez brace of goals being the key contribution and one that even after a late rally from Roy Hodgson’s men meant that the North London outfit earned all three points.
The cynics will say that Sanchez is playing well as of late because of the fact the transfer window is opening tomorrow and there well be an element of truth in that, whether this is one of the last games that both he and Mesut Ozil play for the club remains to be seen.
Will Arsene Wenger want to sell the two players in question to Premier League rivals with Manchester City and Manchester United being the destinations for Sanchez and Ozil respectively or is willing to let the players go on a free to most likely the same clubs anyway.
The school of thought from Wenger will be that he can keep the players until the end of the season in a bid to secure a top four finish as to sell them now would only go onto weaken the club especially when the club are not desperate for money in any way.
Add to the fact that Manchester City may well feel that the arrival of Alexis Sanchez halfway through their incredible season may just derail the locomotive which is surging past anyone that gets in their way and with that mind they may well delay their signature attempt until the Summer.
In the most basic sense the result for West Brom is going to define how they summise 2017, a win and they end on a high, defeat and they start 2018 bottom. Unfortunately for them I think there is going to be more gloom for Alan Pardew as Arsenal come away with the win.