Everything you need to know ahead of the Premier League match at Emirates Stadium on Sunday
“You have certainly to know that there are many aspects of a football club which have to be discussed at a board meeting. One of them is of course what is happening with the manager, the future, the players who have to come in, the renewal of contracts. You don’t miss problems in a board meeting.”
Arsene Wenger’s response to a question about the board meeting which is likely to determine his future at Arsenal holds resonance going into the final game of the season against Everton.
The Gunners need Liverpool to drop points against Middlesbrough on Sunday and have to win their own game against the Toffees if they want to secure a top four spot, with Wenger expected to sit down with majority shareholder Stan Kroenke after next week’s FA Cup final.
Wenger’s contract expires at the end of the season and he has yet to give any indication as to whether he’ll be staying on as Arsenal manager, although all signs points to the Frenchman wanting to extend his 21-year tenure in north London.
Arsenal have won each of their last nine matches on home turf contested on the final day of the season, scoring four times in each of the last five, and will be desperate to continue that record in a tricky-looking game against Ronald Koeman’s men this weekend.
Arsenal have an almost fully fit squad to choose from for the final Premier League game of the season but Laurent Koscielny faces a late fitness test.
Wenger confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Aaron Ramsey will be fit following a knock during the midweek victory over Sunderland, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain misses out.
“Oxlade-Chamberlain is not back and we have an uncertainty over whether Koscielny will be available or not. He will have a test today and tomorrow and then I will make the decision.”
The England star should be fit for next week’s FA Cup final with Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Santi Cazorla long-term absentees.
Arsenal have no players suspended for this match.
ARSENAL POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
Koscielny faces a late fitness test and if he doesn’t make it then Nacho Monreal is likely to move to central defence with Kieran Gibbs continuing at left wing back.
Olivier Giroud has started up front in the past two consecutive games but Danny Welbeck could be involved instead if Wenger goes for a more mobile option in attack.
There is likely to be minimal changes from the 2-0 win over Sunderland with Aaron Ramsey continuing his central midfield partnership with Granit Xhaka and talismanic duo Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil also starting.
Everton have already secured Europa League football and will be confident of getting a result against an Arsenal team who they have already beaten in the reverse fixture this season.
In terms of injuries and illnesses, the Toffees are without Aaron Lennon, James McCarthy, Seamus Coleman, Ramiro Funes Mori and Yannick Bolasie, while Joel Robles is likely to continue in place of the injured Maarten Steklenburg for Sunday’s game.
Along with Stekelenburg, the Toffees remain without Aaron Lennon (stress-related illness), James McCarthy (hamstring), Seamus Coleman (broken leg), Ramiro Funes Mori (knee) and Yannick Bolasie (knee).
Romelu Lukaku is their top scorer with 25 goals in all competitions this season.
BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS
Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 20 Premier League home games against Everton (W16 D4); their longest ever unbeaten streak against a side in the competition.
Indeed, this run started when Arsene Wenger became manager in 1996, beating all five Everton managers he has faced in that time.
Olivier Giroud has scored four goals in his last three appearances in all competitions against Everton at the Emirates.
Romelu Lukaku has now gone four games without scoring for the Toffees, Everton have picked up victories in seven of the last nine season (L2).
Alexis Sanchez has 23 Premier League goals this season, one fewer than Lukaku. If Lukaku finishes the season as the league’s top scorer, he’ll be the first Belgian to win the Premier League Golden Boot and the first player to win it from a club outside the top four since Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink for Chelsea in 2000/01.
Sanchez has now scored in three successive appearances in all competitions for Arsenal and will be looking to net in four in a row for the first time since April 2016.
TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME
Kick-off is at 15:00 BST on Sunday, 21 May and the match is not being broadcast on TV in the UK.