Thursday 22 February 2018

Four remaining fixtures - will Arsenal beat Everton to the final Champions League place?

Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal
Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal

Simon Rice

Arsenal are in a battle - however not for the Premier League title as their supporters had hoped - but to cling on to the fourth and final Champions League place.

The Gunners ran out 3-1 winners over West Ham on Tuesday night to move back up to fourth in the league, but Everton can overtake them again on Wednesday night with a point against Crystal Palace.

The Toffees are eyeing that final spot but Roberto Martinez's side have an arguably tougher run-in. But what about the tests facing the Gunners? Can they win every game from here to the end of the season? Where might they come unstuck? We take a look at those remaining Premier League games...

v Hull (A) - Sun April 20

In a dress rehearsal of the FA Cup final, up next for Arsenal is another side for whom safety looks assured and a game that should yield maximum points for the Gunners.

They've beaten the Tigers the last five times they've met, including a 2-0 win at the Emirates earlier this term. Nicklas Bendtner and Mesut Ozil were on the scoresheet that day.

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Arsenal's Nicklas Bendtner scored when filling in for Olivier Giroud against Hull

v Newcastle (H) - Mon April 28

The straight forward fixtures keep on coming for Arsenal, with Newcastle coming to the Emirates with very little to play for.

After a strong start to the season, the Magpies have looked happy to settle for mid-table mediocrity ever since.

They're assured that now so should be a push over.

Wenger will be wary of their strong away form however, they've won as many Premier League games as Chelsea on the road and just one less than Manchester City.

When they met at St James' Park earlier this season Olivier Giroud's second-half strike was the difference between the sides. Newcastle won't have fond memories of their last visit to the Emirates either - they lost 7-3.

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Olivier Giroud scored the winning goal for Arsenal against Newcastle United

v West Brom (H) - Sun April 4

The penultimate game of the season might be against a team lower in the table than their three previous opponents, but consequently it should be a team desperate to get something out of the match.

The Baggies are hovering just above the relegation places and if one of the three teams currently occupying the relegation zone manage to put a run together, they will be in trouble.

With just three wins on the road this season, Pep Mel won't relish taking his team to the Emirates but their most recent games against the Gunners might provide more encouragement.

They've met twice already this season, with both games ending 1-1 after 90 minutes. In the case of the Capital One Cup game, Arsenal would go on to win on penalties.

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Arsenal's Jack Wilshere celebrates scoring the equalising goal against WBA

v Norwich (A) - Sun 11 May

This could be one of the games to watch on the final day of the season. While Arsenal are battling for a place in the Champions League, their opponents could well be playing for a place in the Premier League.

Just five games from the end of the season, the Canaries hit the panic button, sacked Chris Hughton and put youth team coach Neil Adams in charge.

Will it turn out to be an inspired move by Norwich? A result in this match at Carrow Road could be the difference between an answer of yes or no to that question.

The last time they met in Norfolk Arsenal lost 1-0. The two most recent meetings ended 3-1 and 4-1 in the Gunners' favour. Depending on how Arsenal fare against Wigan, this might not be the last game of their season; The final of the FA Cup takes place the following weekend.

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Aaron Ramsey scores Arsenal's third goal against Norwich

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