Four ways Arsenal could finish in top four

Liverpool’s resounding 4-0 victory against West Ham appeared to virtually confirm their top-four finish for the 2016/17 Premier League season and could well prove to have been the final nail in the coffin of Arsenal’s Champions League qualification hopes.

Arsene Wenger’s side were hoping for a favour from the Hammers after beating Stoke 4-1 on Saturday but Slaven Bilic’s men were rolled over after a masterclass from Philippe Coutinho.

With Manchester City beating Leicester over the weekend too, Arsenal’s chances of finishing in the top four look bleak to say the least.

But there is (some) hope yet!

There are several possibilities that could see them reach Europe’s premier competition once again, some of which we will take a look at below…

Option 1 – Catch City

In this scenario, Arsenal must win both of their remaining matches, with Manchester City losing at least one of their remaining fixtures.

It’s pretty unlikely that City would lose both but if they won one and lost one that would bring both sides onto the same number of points.

Arsenal currently have a goal difference of +29, while City’s is +34 so they would need a five-goal swing.

But it’s not too farfetched to see Arsenal spanking bottom side Sunderland and if City slip-up, it could get very nervy.

Option 2 – Leapfrog Liverpool

The simplest scenario of all, if Arsenal win both their matches and Liverpool lose or draw against Middlesbrough, the Gunners will qualify for the Champions League.

Option 3 – Pip Liverpool on goal difference/goals scored

It’s also possible for Arsenal to reach the top four without having to win both their matches.

Should Liverpool lose to Middlesbrough, Arsenal would only require four points and a four-goal swing to move above their rivals.

Example results and final tally

Example resultsArsenal 3-0 Sunderland
Arsenal 1-1 Everton
Liverpool 0-1 Middlesbrough

Final tally

Liverpool – 73pts +32GD & 75GF
Arsenal – 73pts + 32GD & 76GF

Assuming Middlesbrough managed to edge out a 1-0 win against Klopp’s men, the Gunners would need to beat Sunderland by three goals and have a score draw against Everton.

That set of results would see them move above Liverpool on goals scored but a 4-0 win against Sunderland and a draw would confirm the higher finish on goal difference.

Option 4 – End-of-season play-off

Incredibly, it’s still not beyond the realms of possibility that Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool could all end up on exactly the same number of points, having scored the same number of goals and having equal goal difference.

Example results and final tally

Example resultsArsenal 3-0 Sunderland
Man City 2-2 West Brom
Liverpool 0-1 Middlesbrough
Arsenal 0-0 Everton
Watford 3-1 Man City

Final tally

Liverpool – 73pts +32GD & 75GF
Arsenal – 73pts +32GD & 75GF
Man City – 73pts +32GD & 75GF

Obviously, it’s extremely unlikely that this situation would arise but if it was to, Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool would have to compete in an end-of-season play-off at a neutral venue to decide which of them is higher in the standings.

If they all stayed on the same number of points, each team would have to face one another to separate them all.

Of course, while that’s unlikely, there’s a slightly better chance of just two of the teams remaining on the same number of points, with the same goal difference and same number of goals scored, in which case it would just be a one-match play-off (should European qualification be on the line).

Ultimately, none of these scenarios are overly likely but you just never know…



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