Open Thread: Fourth-Place Rivals vs. Team We Don't Often Like Rooting For

Ready to root for Nasri's team? I know it's not easy. - Alex Livesey

One of the biggest matches of the year for Arsenal fans (not involving Arsenal) takes place at 12:30 ET today.

If Manchester City holds off Everton later today (12:30 ET on CNBC; we'll wait while you look it up on your cable guide), Arsenal is assured of a Champions League place for the 17th straight year. As it stands right now, Arsenal and Everton have both played 36 of the season's 38 Premier League games, and Arsenal's four points clear of Everton in the table. Here are the scenarios other than the easy one which puts Arsenal through:

If Everton ties today, a tie or a win by Arsenal tomorrow against West Brom would clinch fourth place. If Everton ties and Arsenal loses, an Everton win next week combined with an Arsenal loss would take it to goal differentials -- where Arsenal currently enjoys a 24-21 advantage.

An Everton win today gets them to 72 points compared to Arsenal's 73. Arsenal winning tomorrow clinches Arsenal's position over Everton no matter what happens next week; anything less moves us into the Final Week Simultaneous Match-Watching Nervous Zone, where we find ourselves in the odd position of rooting for Hull vs. Everton should Arsenal struggle against Norwich, who will possibly be fighting to avoid joining Fulham and Cardiff City in relegation, depending on what they do tomorrow against Chelsea.

Speaking of weird rooting interests, Liverpool fans find themselves in the unpleasant situation of rooting for their cross-town rivals to keep their title hopes afloat. (And we find ourselves rooting for Nasri's team.)

The lineups:

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Teams
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