Arsenal

How many goals Arsenal may need vs Everton to qualify for Champions League instead of Tottenham

Arsenal trail Tottenham Hotspur by two points with one game remaining in the Premier League season as the battle for top-four will be settled on the final day

Fourth spot in the Premier League table is still up for grabs, but only one team will claim it as the race to seal a Champions League place – which has taken so many twists and turns – could yet serve up one final twist.

It all comes down to Sunday afternoon in a straight fight between north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal for the right to take a seat at Europe’s top table alongside the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona next season.

Chelsea, who are also guaranteed Champions League football for the 2022/23 campaign, have all but wrapped up third spot ahead of their home game against already relegated Watford thanks to their superior goal difference to Spurs.

Speaking of Tottenham, they simply must avoid defeat against Norwich City or they risk allowing the Gunners to sneak in if they’re able to overcome Everton at the Emirates Stadium. Now, the possibility of the Gunners finishing above their bitter rivals looks highly unlikely and not just because they are relying on a favour from elsewhere but their inferior goal difference too.

Although when recalling a previous time when the two teams went head-to-head on the final day of the season, it was an afternoon to remember for the red half of north London. It was the 2015/2016 campaign, Spurs had started the day in second place but lost 5-1 away at 10-man and already relegated Newcastle United, thus allowing Arsenal to finish runners-up after beating Aston Villa 4-0 at the Emirates Stadium.

Of course, a repeat of his scenario on Sunday would see the Gunners finish fourth. But if Spurs draw at Carrow Road and Mikel Arteta’s side beat Everton, it would leave the two teams locked on 69 points, and as per the Premier League, the ruling in regards to two teams finishing on the same number of points is as follows:

“If two or more clubs finish level in the table when competing for the title or European qualification, or when relegation is at stake, their records in the head-to-head matches will now be used to separate them. In previous seasons, teams involved in these specific battles who finished with the same points total, goal difference and number of goals scored would be pitted against each other in a play-off.

“If clubs still cannot be separated, the team who scored the most goals away from home in the head-to-head matches will get the highest position. Only if the clubs remain level in the table after this will a play-off be arranged, at a neutral ground, with the format, timing and venue being determined by the Premier League Board.”

Therefore, as Spurs would have the advantage with regards to the head-to-head record, the only scenario that sees Arsenal finish fourth – if both finished level on points – is by virtue of a superior goal difference, however, it would take a mini-miracle for this to potentially separate the two sides given the Lilywhites hold a healthy 24-9 lead.

As a result, Arteta’s team may require a 16-goal swing in their favour in order to pip Spurs to a top-four finish. Once again, the chances of this happening are virtually impossible as the Gunners would have to beat Everton by a 16-goal margin (so 16-0, or 17-1, for example) if their rivals were to draw with Norwich. Of the two scenarios that would allow Arsenal to qualify for the Champions League, this is by far the most unrealistic.

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