Everton trounced Arsenal 3-0 in a key late-season Premier League matchup at Goodison Park. As a result, Everton — winners of six straight — moves up to 63 points in the table — one behind Arsenal for fourth place and the final EPL berth to the Champions League. Everton have a game-in-hand, meaning Roberto Martinez’s team now has the inside track on fourth and the financial windfall it represents.
On-loan striker Romelu Lukaku scored the best of Everton’s three goals, which made it 2-0 in the first half. It’s amazing to think how much the Belgian has potentially swung both the title race and the Champions League race in England. Had Jose Mourinho decided not to loan him out, perhaps Chelsea’s on-going issues at striker never materialize. Meanwhile Lukaku and the collective Everton team effort put the Toffees within hailing distance of the Champions League — yet another kick in the teeth this season for David Moyes.
Before everyone like Piers Morgan starts shoveling dirt on the Arsene Wenger era in North London, remember Arsenal have flirted with missing the Champions League late in the season time and time again, only to squeeze in at the last minute. (Thank you lasagna!) The Gunners final five league games aren’t that imposing: vs. West Ham; at Hull City; vs. Newcastle United; vs. West Brom; at Norwich. (Arsenal plays Wigan next weekend in the FA Cup semifinals.) The race for the “fourth place trophy” isn’t over, yet, regardless of how limp Wenger’s team looked Sunday.
And anyone calling for the head of Wenger needs to provide a simple answer to this question: who on Earth are you going to replace the Frenchman with?
[Photo via Getty]