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Everton-Arsenal Preview

Arsenal have been a Champions League club for 20 consecutive seasons under the leadership of manager Arsene Wenger. That could be all about to change as they enter Sunday's finale against Everton.

The Gunners (22-6-9) go into the final day of the season fifth in the Premier League table, and requiring Liverpool to slip against Middlesbrough or Manchester City to lose in spectacular fashion versus Watford if they are to sneak into the top four.

Looking for a fifth straight win, Arsenal have been here before, of course, with their European qualification fate coming down to the final day of the season a number of times. But if Wenger's team are to miss out on their usual top-four finish this time, it would be another indication that the club are growing increasingly stale under the 67-year-old Frenchman.

However, Wenger does not see missing out on Champions League as a terminal failure.

"I answered for 20 years the question, 'the top four is nothing special,' so I don't know why suddenly it could become such a big problem," he said. "I'm quite surprised. I want to absolutely make sure that we are in there but after that let's get to 75 points and see what happens."

Finishing outside of those qualification places would lead to further speculation that the head coach will leave the club this summer. But when asked if this will be his final game at the Emirates, Wenger coyly replied: "Of the season, yes."

Arsenal will go into this game with Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny likely available again after injury, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Santi Cazorla remain out.

Half an eye of each Arsenal fan may be on matters in the Liverpool game on Sunday, but Arsenal will stand no chance of leapfrogging into fourth place if they don't beat the visiting side from Everton.

Ronald Koeman's Toffees (17-10-10) won 2-1 when these teams met back in December, coming from a goal down to beat Arsenal for the first time in five attempts. Now, the Dutch manager is seeking a rare double over the north Londoners to cap off a solid season.

"Arsenal have a great team and have some really good individual quality, but we can beat them, as we showed at home," Koeman said. "I have a good record as a manager against Arsenal and let's hope that we keep that."

Everton are guaranteed to finish seventh in the league, with a cavernous 15-point gap over eighth-place Southampton going into the final day. So attention at the club has already switched to next season with Koeman admitting that he has big plans for the summer transfer window.

"We are two to three months into getting a picture of what we need," he said. "Let's hope we do good business.

"I am the manager, and the board like to support the manager. We have the same picture in what we want to improve."

Finding a new right-back will be high on Koeman's list of priorities as Seamus Coleman remains out for the foreseeable future with a double leg break. Aaron Lennon, Martin Stekelenburg, Ramiro Funes Mori, Yannick Bolasie and James McCarthy are also all unavailable for Sunday's game.

According to the Associated Press, Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has had a $1.3 billion bid to take full control of Arsenal rejected by owner Stan Kroenke. Usmanov remains interested in buying out Kroenke's 67-percent majority stake in a deal valuing the club at $2 billion.

Updated May 19, 2017

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