It’s another must-win game for Arsenal, and the final league fixture of the 2016/17 campaign.
After a frustrating period of unsettling inconsistency across all competitions, the Gunners have managed to recover their form and gradually build up momentum as they usually do at this time of the season.
Results must go their way and they themselves have to beat Ronald Koeman’s Everton side for them to have any chance of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League next season.
It’s a stark contrast to how things looked shortly after the Christmas break following two away defeats against the aforementioned Toffees and Manchester City within a week.
Arsène Wenger revealed that his future will be decided after the FA Cup final, amid reports that he’s likely to sign another contract extension at the club ahead of a summer overhaul.
He also provided injury updates, declaring Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring) still out whilst Laurent Koscielny is a doubt and Aaron Ramsey has been described as “all right”.
“We just want everyone to play 100% in their last game, that is usually the way in England,” Wenger said.
The inevitable questions about whether this was his final game at the Emirates arrived.
Unsurprisingly, Wenger dodged clarifying his future for another week by saying, “…of the season, yes. But ever? I cannot tell you that.”
With the injury updates in mind, it’s likely that Arsene will keep a similar team to the one that prevailed over Sunderland in midweek but one or two changes could occur.
If Koscielny is doubtful, it would be understandable if he was rested with the FA Cup final against Chelsea just next weekend. Danny Welbeck will be expected to lead the line but Olivier Giroud or Theo Walcott could both feature instead of the 26-year-old, who has netted four and created two assists in nine previous meetings with Everton.
Possible XI (3-4-2-1): Cech; Holding, Mustafi, Monreal; Bellerín, Ramsey, Xhaka, Gibbs; Alexis, Özil; Welbeck.
Everton have a few first-team absentees to deal with ahead of kick-off. James McCarthy (hamstring), Ramiro Funes Mori (knee) and Seamus Coleman (leg) are all long-term absentees.
This could potentially be the final Everton appearance for both Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku. The attacking duo have made clear their intentions to play Champions League football and if sufficient offers are made by Europe’s best sides, it’s highly possible they’ll leave.
Everton have only won one of their last eight away fixtures in the league whilst Arsenal themselves have only lost one at home during the same time period.
This is the first time that Arsenal have won four successive league matches since October, which is quite depressing in itself. But Everton’s spirited recovery at Goodison Park will give them confidence that they can complete the double over Arsenal for the first time since the 1985/86 campaign.
Possible XI (4-3-3): Robles; Baines, Jagielka, Williams, Holgate; Schneiderlin, Davies, Gueye; Mirallas, Barkley, Lukaku.
I feel as though a year in the Europa League could prove beneficial in the long-run for Arsenal, but everyone wants a win – not least Wenger with his focus on 75 points.
Plus, nothing beats final day drama right?
Is it too much to ask that some lasagna was sent up to Liverpool?