Arsenal 3-1 Everton: Gunners miss out on top four despite win

For the first time in Arsene Wenger's reign at Arsenal, the Gunners have failed to finish in the top four. A 3-1 win over Everton was not enough as results elsewhere meant they failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 21 years.

An early goal from Hector Bellerin gave Arsenal hope, before Alexis Sanchez made it 2-0 after Laurent Koscielny was sent off. Romelu Lukaku got Everton back into things from the penalty spot in the second half, but Aaron Ramsey found the net late on to seal all three points.

Top four equation

With Chelsea already wrapping up the league title and the relegation places confirmed, all that was left to be decided on the final day of the season was the Champions League spots, as Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal were all still battling it out.

Providing the Gunners won, they had to hope that the teams above them would slip up in order to get Champions League football for next season. Wenger's men needed Liverpool to lose against already relegated Middlesbrough or required a swing in goal difference if Watford were to defeat Manchester City.

There was also the potential of a Champions League play-off match. For that to have happened Arsenal must have drawn 1-1 with Everton, whilst Liverpool would needed to have lost 2-0 to Boro. Those results would have meant the two teams finishing on equal goal difference, having scored and conceded the same amount of goals over the whole season.

However any complications were put aside by the day's results. Manchester City thrashed Watford 5-0 whilst Liverpool did their job, winning 3-0 at Anfield, which meant the Gunners were the ones to miss out on a top four spot.

Lively first half 

It was a hugely entertaining first half at the Emirates, with Arsenal grabbing two goals but also having Koscielny sent off.

Bellerin's early goal looked to put the pressure on Liverpool as the Gunners opened the scoring after just eight minutes. Lovely intricate play inside the penalty area ended with Mesut Ozil being able to get to the byline. His pass across goal should have been finished by Danny Welbeck but he missed the opportunity. Bellerin was on hand however to slide home for his first and only goal of the season.

Six minutes later Arsenal found themselves down to ten men as referee Michael Oliver gave Koscielny his marching orders. Enner Valencia looked to get down the right flank but was then sized down robustly by the French centre half.

On another day he may have seen yellow, but the force of the tackle earned him a red card. Koscielny was nowhere near the ball and therefore the red was probably justified. He will now miss the FA Cup final. 

The red card didn't stop Arsenal from attacking though, as they scored a second goal on 27 minutes thanks to Alexis. Playing in what could be his final game at the Emirates, should he decide to leave, he doubled the Gunners advantage with one of the more simpler strikes he's scored this season. His first shot was blocked but Welbeck beat Robles to the loose ball and then laid the ball on a plate for Sanchez to find the net.

The sending off did open the game up for Everton though, and they were slightly unfortunate to not find a way back into the game in the opening 45 minutes, with Petr Cech being kept busy.

Ross Barkley, who had come on early as a sub for Tom Davies scuffed a shot which was only cleared as far as Valencia. He then also scuffed his opportunity. It was a frantic period of play that eventually ended in Cech saving from Lukaku.

Before the break there were meanwhile chances for Idrissa Gueye whose long range effort was tipped wide of the post by Cech, and then the Arsenal keeper was on hand again to prevent a looping Lukaku header.

Season peters out in second half

The second 45 minutes was not as entertaining as the first, but there was still another two goals, in among a host of yellow cards dished out by referee Oliver.

One of those yellow cards came minutes into the second half as Gabriel was cautioned in a tackle that prematurely ended his game, and potentially his season. He looked to have sustained a knee injury, as he was stretchered off and replaced by Per Mertesacker, making his first appearance of the season.

His introduction though wasn't able to ensure Arsenal kept a clean-sheet, as Lukaku scored ten minutes into the second half. Rob Holding handled inside the penalty area, and Lukaku stepped up to slot the penalty home. Cech dived the right way, but couldn't keep it out.

Valencia then had a goal ruled out for the away side, as he found the net after a great ball in from Mason Holgate. However the Toffee's striker was adjudged to have fouled Mertesacker in order to get to the ball.

That acted as a wake-up call for the Gunners who knew they still had a job to do. Everton left themselves open at the back and Welbeck, Ozil and Alex Iwobi all had chances denied in the second half by Robles.

Wenger's team did eventually find a third though. Ozil was the supplier as he did magnificently well to weave his way between the Everton defence before laying the ball into Ramsey. The Welshman then curled a lovely shot into the far corner to wrap up the game.

Arsenal had got the result they needed, but the damage had been done earlier in the season. Results at Anfield and Vicarage Road had not gone their way, meaning they finished fifth in the Premier League, as the season reached its conclusion. 

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