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Fourth Place Trophy Race update: You had one job, West Ham


Nike Breaking2: Sub-Two Marathon Attempt
not shown: stumbling
Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

Well, we did a lot of math and thinkin’ this past week about what it would take for Arsenal to sneak into that last Champions League place. After a longish look at all the permutations, it basically came down to the fact that Liverpool had to drop points, and that Liverpool needed to drop points in one of their last two games. The most likely of those point drops, it seemed, would be in today’s game against West Ham.

Liverpool 4-0 West Ham

So, that’s a thing. Arsenal’s only chance to sneak into fourth now is if Liverpool drop points. Problem is, they’re playing already relegated, guaranteed-to-finish-19th Middlesbrough at Anfield, so for some crazy reason I don’t see that going Arsenal’s way. If Liverpool win, nothing Arsenal does will matter, because the best they can finish is level with Manchester City on points.

City have a superior goal difference, though, so in order for Arsenal, two of these things must happen:

- Arsenal win out
- City drop points to one or both of West Brom or Watford
- Liverpool stumble against Boro

If that first one doesn’t happen, the other two don’t matter. Even if Arsenal do win their last two games, their CL odds are long - if City net four points out of their two games, Arsenal can’t catch them, and as mentioned, if Liverpool wins, Arsenal can’t catch them either.

This, then, is how it ends. The continuation of a long and glorious streak of Champions League qualification is entirely out of Arsenal’s hands.