Arsenal could move one-step closer to qualifying for the Champions League with a victory over rivals Everton at the Emirates Stadium this evening.
The Gunners have made their usual late charge to finish in the top four and could move four points clear of fifth place Tottenham.
The game against Everton could be a crucial moment in the season.
A defeat and Everton could be right back in the chase for the Champions League spots. The Toffee’s could be just one point behind the Gunners with a win, so a victory is vital for both sides.
Both teams head into the clash in good form. Arsenal have won their last four top flight games, while Everton have won three and drew one of their previous four Premier League games.
Something has to give in both teams form and this looks like it could be a very tense and tight encounter.
History is against David Moyes and his Everton side at Arsenal. In his 11 year tenure at Everton Moyes’ has claimed just two draws at Arsenal and has yet to win against the Gunners on their home patch.
Arsenal has to be favourites to defeat the visitors because of the history and their current good form.
Arsenal came close to suffering a surprise defeat against Norwich in their last home Premier League game. Three late goals earned the Gunners three vital points and moved Arsene Wenger’s side up to third in the Premier League.
Arsenal cannot afford to put in another display as they did in the first 85 minutes against the Canaries and expect to defeat the visitors.
For much of the season Everton looked like a real threat to the teams challenging for the top four positions. However, David Moyes’ side struggled to win games at the turn of the year and drew far too many games.
Those earlier draws could cost the Toffee’s, as the Merseysider’s are now just three points away from fourth place Chelsea. Had any of those resulted in victories Everton would be in a far better position, but instead they are playing catch-up and the games are running out.
A win would give David Moyes’ side a chance of finishing in the top four, but the Toffees still have to visit local-rivals Liverpool and Chelsea on the last day of the season. It is a tall order to expect Everton to win those difficult games.
Arsenal seems to like making it difficult for themselves. The Gunners have had to make late surges for the top four places in recent months. Every season they seem to go through a crisis.
Yet every season the Gunners manage to finish in the top four of the Premier League. Considering his net spend Arsene Wenger has done really well to keep the Gunners competitive.
Unfortunately, Arsenal is no longer challengers for the title and I think most Gunners fans are realistic about their teams’ aspirations, no matter how much they hate to admit it.
Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal contract expires next summer and where the Gunners finish this season could determine the sort of money that Wenger spends this summer.
For a variety of reasons Arsenal have not spent big in the transfer market in recent years and it has meant that Arsenal do not challenge for the Premier League title.
Which players arrive in the summer will dictate whether the Gunners can challenge the Manchester clubs and possibly Chelsea for the title next season.
As I mentioned earlier this summer’s transfer activity will depend on whether the Gunners make it to the Champions League next season. A win against Everton will move Arsenal a big step closer to that goal.
Everton will not be pushovers though. The Toffee’s are likely to be determined opponents, but I think Arsenal may just shade the game by a goal and secure a vital victory in the race for the top four.
Can Arsenal claim a vital victory over Everton this evening?