Arsenal chase The Champions League but their final day fate is out of their Hands
Last updated: May 18, 2017 by Leon Marshal
|Coverage:||Not Available in the UK|
|Last Meeting:||Everton 2 – 1 Arsenal|
|Competition:||English Premier League|
The final day of the season is upon us once again. Dramatic thrills and spills await as the Premier League campaign comes to a climax. Well, maybe not. The final day looks a little underwhelming this year. With the title already wrapped up and the relegation battle over, Arsenal remain one of only two sides who have anything to play for.
Even the most emphatic of Sky Sports pundit would struggle to spin this one as anything other than a dead rubber. If Chelsea wrap up the title on Friday night – which we all expect them to do – away at West Brom, and United are either through to Europa League final, elated and tired, or have blown a 1-0 away lead against a side 12th in La Liga, dismayed and unmotivated, this game has about as much riding on it as the Eurovision Song Contest.
The Gunners sit in 5th, a point behind Liverpool, and crucially, out of the Champions League qualification spots. Wenger has taken a lot of criticism this season, and I wonder if this game will decide his future at the club. The longest-serving manager in the league has spent the last 19 years tangling with Europe’s finest in its premier competition, but is it all about to fall apart? Arsenal must take three points here if they are to have any hope of leapfrogging Jürgen Klopp’s men, who face relegated Middlesbrough at home. Arsenal fans will take hope from Sunderland’s post relegation performance against Hull City, but that was Hull, and this is Anfield.
Everton have been woeful on the road this season, bagging just 18 of their 61 points away from Goodison Park. With Ronald Koeman’s side cemented in 7th, Everton come into this one amid speculation around Barkley and Lukaku, and off the back of a pretty flat performance against Watford in the final home game of the season. Even the most optimistic Evertonians will be struggling to drum up confidence for this one. Victory for Arsenal would also seal Champions League qualification for city rivals, Liverpool. ‘Roll-over’ might not even cover it. For neutrals, there is the slim chance of a rare playoff on the cards. If Arsenal draw 1-1 with Everton and Liverpool lose 2-0 to Middlesbrough, both clubs would finish with the level on points and goal difference. We can only hope.
Laurent Koscielny has been struggling with an Achilles injury of late but the French-international could feature in the final game of the season.
Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey was brought off in Arsenal’s win over Sunderland but will likely be fit enough to start this one.
Everton still have a lengthy long-term injury list but have no new concerns for their final game of the season.
Ross Barkley could be making his last start for his boyhood club. Given the speculation around the midfielder’s future, we still don’t know if he will be at Goodison Park next season.
|Arsenal (3-4-3):||Cech; Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Gibbs; Ozil, Sanchez, Welbeck|
|Subs:||Gabriel, Ospina, Walcott, Iwobi, Welbeck, Coquelin, Elneny|
|Injured:||Oxlade-Chamberlain, Reine-Adelaide, Cazorla|
|Everton (4-3-3):||Joel Robles; Holgate, Jagielka, Williams, Baines; Gueye, Schneiderlin, Davies; Barkley, Lukaku, Mirallas|
|Subs:||Koné, Barry, Valencia, Besic, Pennington, Hewelt, Williams|
|Injured:||Stekelenburg, Coleman, Funes Mori, Bolasie, lookman, McCarthy, Lennon|
|Not available:||Calvert-Lewin (At England U20s WC)|
So Far This Season
|Arsenal This Season||EvertonThis Season|
|22 (9)||Wins (away)||17 (4)|
|5-1 vs. West Ham||Biggest Win||4-0 vs. Man City|
|6 (3)||Draws (away)||10 (6)|
|0-3 vs. Crystal Palace||Biggest Defeat||0-5 vs. Chelsea|
|Sánchez (23)||Top Goal Scorer||Lukaku (24)|
|Y65, R2||Discipline||Y65, R2|
|4||Failures to Score||8|
|59%||Both Teams to Score Games||49%|
|65%||Over 2.5 Goals||49%|
|35%||Under 2.5 Goals||51%|
- The last day of the season is always eventful and as a result, I often dip into the slightly more unusual markets. Back Arsenal to miss a penalty at 14/1.
- Everton have completely fizzled out since their Champions League dreams were crushed. If you fancy another lacklustre performance, back a team rating of under 15 at 21/20.
- Granit Xhaka will likely start this game and the Swiss midfielder is a red card waiting to happen. Back an Arsenal red card at 9/2.
- Romelu Lukaku is chasing the Premier League’s top scorer trophy and will be desperate to bag again here. Back the big Belgian to score anytime at 6/4.
Head to Head
|Last 5 meetings between the two sides|
|Date||Competition||Game Result||First Goal-scorer|
|13/12/2016||English Premier League||Everton 2 – 1 Arsenal||Sánchez 20′|
|19/03/2016||English Premier League||Everton 0 – 2 Arsenal||Welbeck 7′|
|24/10/2015||English Premier League||Arsenal 2 – 1 Everton||Giroud 36′|
|01/03/2015||English Premier League||Arsenal 2 – 0 Everton||Giroud 39′|
|23/08/2014||English Premier League||Everton 2 – 2 Arsenal||Coleman 19′|
Conclusion & Betting Tips
If you’re the kind of dreamer who wants to believe that the Champions League playoff could happen, a double on Liverpool 0 – 2 Middlesbrough and Arsenal 1 – 1 Everton is available at 1196/1. That’s got to be worth a pound, right? For the more cynical of us out there, this has got an Arsenal win and failure to qualify for Europe’s big competition written all over it. Two home wins here is priced at 17/25, and provides some, albeit limited, value. A more tempting double of both Arsenal and Liverpool to win to nil, priced at around 3/1 with 888sport, is certainly foreseeable and is my bet of the week.
If you’re not interested in the doubles market, Alexis Sanchez is 10/11 to score anytime in the match. The Chilean forward has been outstanding for Arsenal this season, and it would be fitting to cap what some suggest will be a farewell performance with a goal. Everton’s will-he-won’t-he man, Ross Barkley, is slightly better priced at 9/2 to register back-to-back goal scoring performances for Everton.