Phil Thompson predicts where Arsenal, Liverpool will finish

Rufina Vignone
Mag 17, 2017

Arsenal face relegated Sunderland later on Tuesday, and can still add a trophy to their cabinet this season by beating Premier League champions Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 27. Fifth place settles for the Europa League. An Arsenal draw and Liverpool loss would level the two clubs on points, which means it would go to the first tiebreaker, goal difference.

We run through the permutations and what needs to happen for there to be a dramatic end-of-season playoff. The only way Arsenal realistically finishes fourth is with a Liverpool draw and a win against Everton.

Arsenal needs to draw 1-1 with Everton and Liverpool loses 2-0 to Middlesbrough with the teams finishing with the same number of points, same goal difference and equal number of goals scored.

They were frustrated by the already-relegated side for 70 minutes until Alexis Sanchez struck to put Arsenal ahead at the Emirates. In that scenario, any combination of Arsenal scoring at least one more goal than Liverpool in their draw, and Liverpool losing by at least 2 more goals than Arsenal scores, would see Arsenal finish in fourth place.

Granit Xhaka's lofted pass was squared by Mesut Ozil and Sanchez volleyed in his 22nd goal of the league campaign from beneath the crossbar. They could still qualify with a defeat, too, if Arsenal are also beaten.

The Gunners were 4-1 winners against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium to move to within a point of Liverpool in the race to secure a place in next season's Champions League competition. They could overtake Man City if they win and Pep Guardiola's team lose, but there would need to be an unlikely six-goal swing.

Dale Johnson has been an editor and journalist at ESPN for 18 years.

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