On May 21st, Arsenal host Everton at the Emirates Stadium for the final match of the season. Though the title and relegation races are already sewn up, the top four race is still up for grabs on the final day.
After an appalling run of results of two wins in eight Premier League matches between January 31st and April 10th, Arsenal seemed all but out of the top four race. However, Arsenal have done what Arsenal do and kept themselves in the race with a run of six wins in seven matches. Technically a draw could be enough for Arsenal, but realistically they need a win against Everton. A 2-1 loss at Goodison Park was the beginning of Arsenal’s downward spiral this season. A win against them at the Emirates may just be enough to salvage it.
Everton don’t really have anything to play for. They will finish the season in seventh, something that was determined a few weeks ago. Romelu Lukaku’s run for the golden boot looks unlikely after Harry Kane’s four goals against Leicester City put Kane two ahead of Lukaku. Everton’s lack of motivation has appeared to be showing over the last few weeks. Prior to their win at Watford, they had won only one point in their past three matches against Swansea City, Chelsea, and West Ham United. Ronald Koeman does love a result against Arsenal though, so he’ll hope he can get his players focused and ready to end the Gunners season.
Arsenal are expected to be without Santi Cazorla with his long term ankle problem and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain after his hamstring injury, according to Physioroom.com. Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny both could be back, depending on how their training goes, according to Physioroom.com.
Everton are expected to miss Maarten Stekelenburg, Aaron Lennon, Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy, Yannick Bolasie, and Ramiro Funes Mori through a variety of injuries, according to Physioroom.com.
Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez
While he missed out on the Professional Footballers Association team of the season, Alexis Sanchez has arguably been the best player in the Premier League this season. No one has contributed to more Premier League goals than the 33 goals Sanchez has. His 23 goals and 10 assists makes him the only Premier League player this season with double digit goals and double digit assists. The Chilean is the main reason Arsenal are as high up the table as they are, scoring in all of their last three wins and contributing to 44.6% of Arsenal’s Premier League goals this season.
Everton: Romelu Lukaku
Lukaku has carried Everton’s goal scoring in a similar way to Sanchez carrying Arsenal’s. The Belgian has contributed to 30 goals in the Premier League, 49.2% of Everton’s total Premier League goals. He is the main threat that the Toffees present. His goal scoring ability will be a huge danger to Arsenal’s shaky defense.
Arsenal are at home, on a good run, and Everton have nothing to play for. Keeping all that in mind, an Arsenal win looks like the most likely outcome. Arsenal just tend to get results at this stage in the season, though they’ll need help from Middlesbrough if it is to be worth anything this season.