x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Premier League: Opportunity knocks for Everton with Arsenal trip

Victory tonight at in-form Arsenal - their first win at the London club's home in 17 years - will boost the Merseyside team's chances of a top-four finish.

Everton's players will be looking for a repeat of their celebrations against Queens Park Rangers when they face Arsenal.
Everton's players will be looking for a repeat of their celebrations against Queens Park Rangers when they face Arsenal.

Everton can take a huge step towards playing Uefa Champions League football next season if they can maintain their recent run of good form by winning at Arsenal for the first time in 17 years tonight.

To do that, they will have to overcome opponents who have risen to third in the table on the back of a superb run of results, just as the race for Champions League qualification enters the finishing straight.

With Manchester United and Manchester City set to finish first and second, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have been jostling for the remaining two Champions League spots for the last three months.

Yet victory at Arsenal will make Everton serious contenders too in the race to finish in the top four behind the Manchester clubs

Arsenal have 59 points from 32 games, followed by Chelsea on 58 from 31, Spurs on 58 from 32 and Everton at 55 from 32.

Arsenal, who are chasing a 16th successive Champions League berth next season, have recovered superbly since they were beaten 2-1 at Tottenham last month to move upto third place in the standings.

They have won all four league games since that setback at White Hart Lane, including Saturday's 3-1 victory over Norwich City, when all three goals for Arsene Wenger's men came in the last six minutes.

Everton's European ambitions have taken root with four wins and a draw from their last five league games, with coach David Moyes praising his team's professionalism in their 2-0 win against relegation candidates Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

"It was a very important win and a very disciplined and professional performance," he said.

"Now, if we can go and win at Arsenal, you might say that we've got a chance of being involved in the Champions League.

"If we don't, you'll probably say we've got a chance of making the Europa League. No matter what happens there, the players have given themselves a great chance."

He added: "There's six games left to go. We've been doing it for most of the season. Why would it change in the last few games?"

What Everton need to change is their record against Arsenal. They have lost eight of their last 11 league matches and not beaten them for six years.

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