Arsenal will be looking to end the campaign with a fifth successive Premier League win when they welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to the Emirates Stadium this afternoon, kick-off 4:00pm.
The Gunners, who defeated the Seagulls 1-0 in the reverse fixture at the AMEX Stadium back in December, kept their hopes of securing European football for next season alive with a dramatic 3-1 win over Crystal Palace on Wednesday evening.
Late goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Nicolas Pepe got the job done for the Gunners at Selhurst Park, meaning they head into this afternoon’s tussle with Graham Potter’s side still in with an outside chance of qualifying for Europe ahead of next season.
The Gunners will qualify for the newly founded UEFA Europa Conference League if they win and both Tottenham Hotspur and Everton fail to beat Leicester City and Manchester City respectively.
Although the north London outfit do have a chance of playing in Europe next season, albeit not in the competition that they would have hoped for, manager Mikel Arteta’s primary focus is on finishing the campaign in the highest position possible.
Speaking to the media at his pre-match press conference on Friday morning, Arteta explained: “Well, it’s a new competition so I don’t know really well what will happen.
“First of all, let’s try to finish as high as possible and after we will determine, if we are involved, what is the best way to deal with it.”
But regardless of whether or not the Gunners finish in seventh, eighth or ninth, it would still be seen as an underachievement for a club of its stature.
Assessing his side’s campaign, the Spaniard continued: “If you are saying it’s a step back because we haven’t won a title, then it has to be related. In the league we have two more points than last season, but it’s nowhere near where we want to be.
“The fact that we don’t have a title so close to grab because we’re not in the Europa League final makes it difficult to see more positives, but we were knocked out in the last-16 of the Europa League last season.
“There are a lot of things that have been done that were very necessary in this season that are not related to results. But at the end of the day, we are here to win.”
Ahead of today’s final day tussle, which will see fans back inside the Emirates Stadium for the first time since a small portion were allowed inside back in December, Arteta has not reported any fresh injury concerns, meaning he has a large pool of players to choose from when it comes to naming his starting line-up.
However, he will once again be without right-back Hector Bellerin due an injury he suffered in last week’s 1-0 win over Chelsea. He suffered a lower leg injury against the Blues, meaning he may never pull on a Gunners shirt again, as his future at the Emirates Stadium is in doubt ahead of the summer.
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Elsewhere, it remains to be seen whether or not David Luiz will earn one final Gunners appearance, with him still struggling with a hamstring problem. On-loan goalkeeper Mat Ryan is unavailable for selection as he cannot play against his parent club.
Meanwhile, the likes of Cedric Soares, Granit Xhaka, Alexandre Lacazette and Martinelli will be pushing for recalls to the starting line-up.
Full Arsenal squad available to face Brighton & Hove Albion:
Goalkeepers: Bernd Leno, Runar Runarsson & Arthur Okonkwo.
Defenders : Calum Chambers, Cedric Soares, David Luiz (if fit), Gabriel Magalhaes, Rob Holding, Pablo Mari & Kieran Tierney.
Midfielders : Willian, Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka, Reiss Nelson, Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos, Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, Martin Odegaard, Miguel Azeez & Emile Smith Rowe.
Strikers : Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli & Folarin Balogun.