May 21, 2017 at 3pm UK at ​Emirates Stadium
Attendance: 59,976
Arsenal
3-1
Everton
Bellerin (8'), Sanchez (27'), Ramsey (91')
Paulista (52'), Holding (62')
Koscielny (14')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Lukaku (58' pen.)
Williams (19'), Jagielka (39'), Schneiderlin (61'), Baines (73')

Preview: Arsenal vs. Everton

Sports Mole previews the Premier League clash at the Emirates Stadium between Arsenal and Everton.

Arsenal head into their final Premier League fixture of the season against Everton knowing that only three points will do if they are to maintain hope of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

Everton make the trip to the Emirates Stadium with seventh place already assured, but Ronald Koeman will want to strike a blow ahead of another bid to achieve a higher position during the next campaign.


Arsenal

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger during the Premier League match against Southampton on May 10, 2017© SilverHub

During a period where Arsenal have recorded seven wins from their last eight matches in all competitions there remain calls for Arsene Wenger to leave the club at the end of the season, but the Frenchman's future must remain a side-issue until after the FA Cup final.

Regardless of how Arsenal fare against Everton, it will prove irrelevant should Liverpool defeat Middlesbrough to deny the Gunners a spot in the top four of the standings, but it feels imperative that Arsenal end another relatively disappointing campaign with three points against a team who are showing signs of closing the gap on the top-flight's elite.

The longer that Wenger leaves an announcement on his future, the more he is suggesting that he is still weighing up his options - despite the security of a two-year contract being on the table - but a convincing win over the Toffees may leave him being able to justify more time in the dugout.

Should Arsenal prevail at the weekend, they will reach 75 points - four more than last season's return and their equal second-best effort since 2008. While questions will be asked over their league position, Wenger has still reached the 70-point mark for the ninth time in a decade.

At the full-time whistle, all eyes will be on the reactions of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, who could potentially be making their final appearances at the Emirates Stadium if they do not decide to pen new contracts in the summer.

Despite their criticism, they have still contributed 33 goals and 16 assists between them in the Premier League this season and Arsenal will be a much weaker side should they sell the star duo ahead of next season.

Another player who has received a mixed reception of late is Olivier Giroud, but after three goals in his last three outings he has showed his worth to the squad and he heads into this game having averaged a goal per every 100 minutes in the top flight this season.

Recent form: WLWWWW


Everton

For some reason Ronald Koeman applauds after the Premier League game between Liverpool and Everton on April 1, 2017© SilverHub

After just three wins from eight matches, there will be some disappointment within the ranks at Everton after they were unable to maintain their challenge for a top-six position but from a long-term perspective, this can be the season which takes the club to a new level.

During the past two years, only 47 points have been recorded in the Premier League so for Koeman to have the opportunity to reach 64 in his first year in charge represents a bigger improvement than they had perhaps anticipated.

The questions being asked now will revolve around ways they can move closer to the 70-point mark next season but simply put, gaining more points on the road against the teams above them will make the difference.

In five trips to clubs sitting in the top six, Everton have registered just two points, and one of those came in fortuitous circumstances after Manchester City missed two penalties at the Etihad Stadium.

Everton will point to their own bad fortune - they only missed out on beating Manchester United at Old Trafford due to a last-minute spot kick - but in general, being dominant at Goodison Park will not be enough for them to compete with their potential rivals over a nine-month campaign.

Koeman has also been given an insight into how Everton could fare without Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku. Even with the creative midfielder and 24-goal striker in the team, the Toffees have managed just one goal in four matches and when they do not perform, they have a problem.

It is an issue which can be rectified during the summer transfer window but regardless of Everton being unable to improve their league position on Sunday, this is an important match for Koeman who needs a strong performance from his players.

Recent form: WWDLLW


Team News

Laurent Koscielny reacts at the end of the Champions League game between Arsenal and PSG on November 23, 2016© SilverHub

Wenger has revealed that defender Laurent Koscielny faces a late fitness test ahead of the match in North London.

Midfielder Aaron Ramsey has been passed fit for the game, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remains out with the injury he sustained against Southampton earlier this month.

Sanchez will start, despite not being fully fit for Tuesday's win over Sunderland, while Wenger must choose whether to start Giroud or Danny Welbeck.

Koeman could select an unchanged team for the visit to England's capital with only Enner Valencia pushing for a recall to the team.

The winger was introduced for Mason Holgate at half time against Watford nine days ago, but the 20-year-old will keep his place at right-back.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Cech; Holding, Mustafi, Monreal; Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Gibbs; Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud

Everton possible starting lineup:
Robles, Holgate, Jagielka, Williams, Baines, Gueye, Schneiderlin, Davies, Barkley, Mirallas, Lukaku


Head To Head

Sunday's fixture represents the 207th time in which these two teams have faced each other in a competitive match, with Arsenal claiming 101 wins in comparison to 60 victories for Everton.

However, Arsenal have been largely dominant over the past 20 contests, with 12 triumphs and six draws being registered since December 2007.

Everton have not defeated Arsenal in North London since 1996, when Andrei Kanchelskis's 84th-minute winner earned the Toffees a 2-1 win.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Arsenal 3-1 Everton

With what is potentially at stake, Arsenal will be motivated to end the season on a high, but they must be wary of Lukaku, who has individual targets still to be reached. That said, expect one final performance from the likes of Ozil and Sanchez, who could be making their final appearance at the Emirates.


Who will win Sunday's Premier League clash between Arsenal and Everton?

Arsenal
Draw
Everton
Arsenal
66.7%
Draw
33.3%
Everton
0.0%
Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil pictured together on November 27, 2016
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