So here we are, the final game of the Premier League season. After 37 matches, here is where things stand;
We need to win our game against Everton, and hope Liverpool drop points to already relegated Middlesbrough. Even longer odds on Manchester City losing their game at Watford and us overturning a plus three variant in goal difference.
Liverpool appear the more likely of the two to give us what we desire, the Top4 spot. They have had a season littered with occasions when they have dropped the ball to sides they should be defeating. This is the hope we are grasping on to. Liverpool have had all week to concentrate on this game though, and chances are we will be out of the top4 placings for the first time under Arsene Wenger. Not only that, this could well be the last game Wenger oversees as Manager. Probably not though.
We have been on a great run of form recently, but it may just have come a little too late. We have won our last four games and in our last eleven final day fixtures, we have come up trumps. We must not underestimate Everton though – even if they have not won an away game for seven matches.
In terms of team news, Laurent Koscielny is extremely doubtful with the same calf niggle as the last game. Aaron Ramsey should be fit though after coming off against Sunderland. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is out of contention though, and he may miss the Cup Final next week.
Olivier Giroud could well play this game, having scored four goals in his last three games against today’s opponents. Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott remain interesting alternatives, but Giroud may well get the nod. Will this be a precursor for the Cup Final? Giroud against the Chelsea backline has not reaped dividends in the past, so he could start today with Welbeck primed for Chelsea.
We have good history against the Toffees. We are unbeaten against them in 20 league games, although the game at Goodison earlier this season saw Everton win 2-1, so if we have one eye on events at Anfield or Vicarage Road, we may pay heavily.
Everton also have romelu Lukaku gunning for the Golden Boot. He is now behind Harry Kane and hasn’t scored in his last four so will be champing at the bit to hit the net – as will Alexis who is still in with a shout if he gets a few today.
We have a glimmer of hope, and we can dream, but we can’t get carried away. In all likeliness, we will miss out on the Champions League spot.
Worse still though, in a week’s time, the season is over. No football. Let’s just enjoy it while it lasts.
Predicted Lineup – Cech, Holding, Mustafi, Monreal, Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Gibbs, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud
Predicted Scoreline – 3-0 Arsenal
Here’s hoping the glimmer of hope shines brightly at the Emirates whilst remaining extinguished at Anfield and Vicarge Road.
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My thoughts exactly. It’s a long shot, but fingers crossed.