‘We are hoping for something special’

Since losing to Newcastle on Monday night, we have known that our fate is no longer in our own hands when it comes to qualifying for the Champions League.

For us to finish in the top four now, we need to beat Everton at home on the last day, while hoping bottom-placed Norwich can round off their season with victory over Tottenham. Due to our goal difference, no other combination of results will be enough to send us into the Champions League next season.

But Mikel Arteta remains optimistic that events can conspire to produce what would be a memorable final day turnaround.

Asked in his pre-match press conference how he rated his chances of earning that fourth spot, the boss said: “It’s very possible.

“And looking back, I've been back a few years and seen a few examples of teams that they played in the last game of the season and the things that happened. The closer the game is, the more hopeful I am.

“Today I am focussed on winning the match and hoping that we can still achieve the Champions League.”

Arteta achieved Champions League qualification in each of his five seasons as a player at the club, including the occasional last-day drama.

And he said watching his old club Everton produce an unlikely comeback to avoid relegation on Thursday, has given him more reason to be hopeful.

“I was watching it and that gives me more encouragement about what can happen on the last day at Norwich because this happens only in this league.

“It’s what makes this league such an incredible league, because in many other countries, where there is nothing to play for, you don’t see that type of performances, so we are hoping that something special can happen.”

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