Arsenal failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years to renew scrutiny of Arsene Wenger despite a 3-1 victory over Everton on Sunday.
Liverpool’s victory over Middlesbrough condemned Arsenal and manager Wenger to a fifth-place finish, making this the first season since 1996-97 to conclude with the club having not secured a place in Europe’s elite competition.
Wenger’s side will look to next weekend’s FA Cup final against Chelsea for consolation, but they will have to do without Laurent Koscielny, sent off for a reckless early foul on Enner Valencia, and possibly Gabriel.
Gabriel was stretchered off in the second half at the Emirates with an apparent knee injury and with Shkodran Mustafi absent here due to illness, it leaves Wenger facing a selection crisis in defence.
Arsenal prevailed courtesy of goals from Hector Bellerin, Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey, with Romelu Lukaku replying from the penalty spot for Everton to take his tally for the campaign to 25 goals.
Despite a seventh win in eight league games, it added up to a disappointing afternoon for Wenger, whose Arsenal future remains undecided pending a board meeting scheduled to take place after the cup final.
It is thought failure to qualify for the Champions League will cost Arsenal around £50 million ($65 million, 58 million euros).
The topic of Wenger’s future divides Arsenal’s fans, but they reserved their fiercest ire for American majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, dubbed “Silent Stan”, chanting: “Stan Kroenke, get out of our club!”
Arsenal had been quick to settle the home fans’ nerves as they took the lead in the eighth minute, but it was no thanks to Danny Welbeck.
Presented with an open goal by Mesut Ozil’s low cross from the left, the former Manchester United striker somehow contrived to let the ball run underneath his foot, but Bellerin followed up to score.
Arsenal were in complete control, only for Koscielny’s moment of madness to give Everton hope.
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