COULD NINTH BECOME SEVENTH FOR ARSENAL
There is no doubt that it has been a strange old season and with the final lap of the Premier League race about to be run, there are still a couple of important matters that need resolving within the English top flight.
While although the battle to finish in the two remaining Champions League places will garner the most attention over the next couple of days, it is the quest to finish seventh which has suddenly becoming even more exciting.
That’s because after events in midweek, there are now three contenders vying for entry into next season’s inaugural Europa Conference League and with just a single point separating seventh to ninth in the table, we now have a large portion of last day drama to tuck into.
Drama that could have been avoided, as Tottenham turned down an opportunity to make life easy for themselves and after a rather insipid performance against Aston Villa, they have once again been overtaken by West Ham.
Of course, Ryan Mason’s men could still snatch entry into the Europa League if results go their way and for that to happen, they must get the better of recent F.A. Cup winners Leicester at the King Power Stadium.
While in addition to that, they must hope that David Moyes cannot mastermind a last day victory at home to Southampton and with the way Tottenham played in midweek, this combination of results may well be wishful thinking.
Which could open the door to Everton in eighth and if they can win at Manchester City, while Tottenham slip up in the East Midlands, it will be the blue half of Merseyside which snares entry into Europe.
On paper, a trip to the Etihad is always a difficult one and Everton could not have been paired with tougher opposition this Sunday. However, the fact that the Premier League title has already been awarded to City, could well work in their favour.
Which means, with City perhaps having more than one eye on next Saturday’s Champions League final, it could be Everton who find themselves getting out of a sticky situation at the expense of Tottenham.
Then again, there is one team that could pip them both and if Arsenal were to finish seventh in the table it would be a remarkable turnaround from just a few weeks ago, as they were dumped out of the Europa League by Villarreal.
Since then, Mikel Arteta and his players have largely gone under the radar and the weekend could be the perfect time for them to move further up the league ladder, especially as they have an easier fixture to contend with.
The Gunners play host to Brighton and with Graham Potter’s group of players having nothing to get excited for, they will serve as the perfect opposition for a team that have won their last four Premier League outings.
There are undoubtedly going to be plenty of twists and turns along the way and if I was a betting man, I’d back Arsenal to leapfrog Tottenham and Everton and in doing so, Mikel Arteta will be able to breathe a huge sigh of relief at the Emirates.