Arsenal won 3-1 today in Premier League action against Everton at The Emirates, but let’s not bury the lede: Arsenal finished 5th and will compete in the Europa League next season.
Arsenal opened the scoring in the 8th minute through Hector Bellerin. Mesut Özil had brilliantly set up Danny Welbeck only for the striker to whiff the chance. Fortunately, the ball fell straight for Arsenal’s right back who buried it into the back of the net.
Things went very wrong for the Gunners 6 minutes later. Laurent Koscielny made a terrible decision and clattered Enner Valencia on an Everton counter and was rightly shown a red by the referee Michael Oliver. With the Liverpool game at 0-0, it was a potential killer for Arsenal.
Fortunately for Koscielny, but unfortunately for Arsenal, his error didn’t matter. Arsenal would double their tally through Alexis Sánchez in the 27th minute. Romelu Lukaku scored a penalty after a Rob Holding handball and Aaron Ramsey scored a world class curler in second half stoppage time. But the real story is, Liverpool won. We’re going to be in the Europa League.
That is going to suck.
So, pour one out for Arsenal’s top four streak. Twenty (20!) straight seasons. That’s a pretty incredible feat that should be celebrated.
Also in the Bad News category, Gabriel his knee on a rash challenge on, you guessed it, Valencia. That means it is likely both Koscielny and Gabriel will be out for the FA Cup Final next week against Chelsea.
More importantly, Alexis came off injured as well. I know we all expect the Chilean to be indestructible but there should be real concern about his status after he went down holding his leg, requesting a sub.
On the positive front, well, we won. And club captain Per Mertesacker made his first appearance since April 30, 2016.
Whether this match was Alexis and Özil’s last match at The Emirates in red and white remains to be seen. For all our sakes, I hope not.
Arsenal next play Premier League Champions Chelsea in the FA Cup Final this coming Saturday, May 27th.