Premier League Top Four Odds: Arsenal Now Need a Miracle
Arsenal’s dreams of securing a top-four finish now lie in tatters after they slumped to a disastrous defeat against Newcastle on Monday night.
Betting sites made them odds-on favourites a week ago, but they are currently 14/1 underdogs after a dramatic reversal of fortunes.
The Gunners now need a divine intervention to sew up a place in next season’s Champions League, but all hope is not yet lost.
Let’s take a look at the state of the race as the final day of the season approaches.
A Brutal Six-Point Swing for Arsenal
Arsenal were four points clear of Tottenham when they went into the North London Derby last Thursday.
Victory would have guaranteed them a top-four finish and resulted in Spurs playing Europa League football next season.
However, the Gunners imploded. Cedric Soares conceded an early penalty, which Harry Kane duly dispatched, and Rob Holding was then sent off. Spurs made short work of the remaining 10 men, wrapping up a 3-0 win.
That cut the deficit to just one point, with two rounds of fixtures remaining. Spurs beat Burnley 1-0 at the weekend, courtesy of a penalty deep into stoppage time at the end of the first half.
That left Arsenal in desperate need of a win at St James’ Park on Monday night, as they sought to regain the initiative, but things went from bad to worse for Mikel Arteta.
Nowhere Near Champions League Level
Arsenal simply could not cope with Newcastle’s intensity. Bruno Guimarães delivered a midfield masterclass, helping the Magpies dominate the game.
It finished 2-0 to Newcastle, courtesy of an own-goal from Ben White and Guimarães’ late strike, but the margin should have been even larger.
“The performance was nowhere near the level we need to be at if we want to play in the Champions League,” said Arteta in a scathing post-match assessment of his team’s shortcomings.
“Normally, I will always defend my players. Not tonight, it is too difficult. Newcastle were 100 times better than us in every department, from the beginning to end. It is hard to accept, but that’s the reality.”
Spurs Just Need to Avoid Defeat Against Norwich
It means that Tottenham are two points clear of Arsenal as the North London rivals head into the final day.
Spurs also have a vastly superior goal difference, so they only need a draw against Norwich, whereas Arsenal must beat Everton and hope that Tottenham somehow lose to the Canaries.
That seems highly unlikely. Norwich are rock bottom of the league, with just five wins, seven draws and 25 defeats from their 37 games this season.
Their goal difference is -56. They have scored fewer goals than any other team in the Premier League this season. Any way you cut it, they are the worst team in the division.
It finished 3-0 to Tottenham when they faced the Canaries earlier in the season. Lucas Moura opened the scoring after just 10 minutes, and second-half goals from Davinson Sánchez and Son Heung-Min wrapped up a comfortable victory.
Norwich had 60% of the possession in that game, but they only managed one shot on target. Meanwhile, Spurs are best priced at just 2/9 with football betting sites to beat Norwich at Carrow Road on Sunday, that’s not good reading for fans of the Gunners.
Hope Is All Arsenal Have Left
For Arsenal to have any chance of appearing in next season's Champions League, they must beat Everton at the Emirates.
That is not the most straightforward of tasks. They lost to the Toffees at Goodison Park earlier this season, and Everton may still be in the relegation battle on the final day of the campaign.
Arsenal are priced at 2/5 with bet365 to beat Everton, but the performance against Newcastle was far from encouraging.
The players looked timid and tired, while centre-backs Gabriel and Ben White were both clearly carrying knocks.
They will not give up hope, but it is easy to see why some bookmakers have priced Spurs at 1/40 to secure a top-four finish.
“If Tottenham lose and we win, you never know in football,” said a dejected Granit Xhaka after the Newcastle defeat. “We have to hope. Before the game everything was in our hands. It’s a totally different game now.”
Is There Still Time for a “Spursy” Performance?
Tottenham’s Harry Kane also refused to declare victory in the race.
“Norwich will be playing their last home game in the Premier League this season,” he warned. “But we have a full week of preparation. We feel like if we play to our abilities, we should win the game.”
All Spurs need to do is avoid defeat against the weakest team in the Premier League. If they lose, it would constitute one of the worst collapses in recent memory.
The term “Spursy” is often bandied about to mock Tottenham’s capitulations, but right now it is Arsenal that look positively ‘Spursy’.
All they can do is try to beat Everton and hope for a shock result at Carrow Road.
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