The final day of the Premier League is upon us and although the race for the title has already been run in addition to the relegation places being filled out there is still the small matter of who will qualify for the Champions League. There are three teams looking to fill the two available berths and the current outsider looking in is that of Arsenal.
They sit in 5th place a point behind Liverpool knowing that they are going to have to better what Jurgen Klopp’s men do at Anfield. But with Liverpool playing host to an already relegated Middlesbrough it may well be a case that they have left themselves too much to do.
If that does prove to be the case then they will have to make do with a first crack at the Europa League next season and who knows whether or not Arsene Wenger will be in charge to lead them into what would be uncharted continental territory.
To make sure they finish in the top four they are going to have to at least get a positive result against Everton this afternoon. The Gunners will come into this game with their tails up after three straight wins since defeat in the North London Derby last month.
Wednesday saw them finally get the better of Sunderland after something of a dogged performance from David Moyes’ men. Alexis Sanchez was the difference as his brace of goals in front of a half empty Emirates made sure that their Champions League aspirations were kept alive.
It did look like it was going to be one of those nights when Jordan Pickford made numerous save but Alexis showed that extra amount of class that was required when it really mattered. There is no doubting his worth to the club, they just need to make sure he does not depart in the Summer.
That could be a transfer saga that runs and runs during the close season but a large bearing on whether the Chilean international does stay put will be on which European competition Arsenal end up playing in next season, will Thursday nights have the same appeal for Alexis?
Standing in their way of a possible top four spot are Ronald Koeman’s Everton. They have secured seventh in the table a long way back and since then their season has been a number of dead rubbers, although this game will take on some importance for Romelu Lukaku.
On Thursday the Belgian was sitting top of the Premier League Golden Boot charts by two clear goals, fast forward to the end of the night and he was then two behind after Harry Kane’s four goal haul against Leicester at the King Power Stadium.
That means Lukaku who has not scored in any of Everton’s last four matches will once again be reignited to find his scoring touch as he looks to claw back the lead that Kane has formed in the past few days. Not only that but could this be the last we see of Lukaku in an Everton shirt.
He is undoubtedly the clubs talisman and Everton will be loathed to see him go but Lukaku certainly has loftier ambitions and right now they are ones that The Toffees cannot quite match. If it is to be his last game then he will obviously want to go out with a bang.
Does that mean Arsenal will feel the full force of Lukaku, lets not forget that they have already come unstuck against them once already this season with Everton winning 2-1 way back in December when the two sides last met. In terms of who the three Champions League chasing teams play today, Arsenal certainly have the hardest task.
With Manchester City traveling to a soon to be manager less Watford and the aforementioned visit of Liverpool to Middlesbrough it means that regardless of what Arsenal do it may well not be enough. I think they will beat Everton but will have to make do with the Europa League next season. Home win for me.