It’s time for yet another trip down memory lane, but unfortunately, this one isn’t quite as favourable. Twelve months ago today Arsenal finished off their strong end to the Premier League season with a convincing 3-1 victory over Everton, but unfortunately, the Gunners missed out on a spot in the top four as a result of Liverpool running out 3-0 winners over Middlesbrough.
Arsene Wenger’s side needed to ensure that they bettered Liverpool’s result in order to stand any chance of qualifying for Europe’s top club competition, but for the first time in what felt like forever, they failed.
If it wasn’t for their FA Cup triumph over Chelsea, you could argue that it would’ve been enough for Wenger to be sacked. After all, the Frenchman had been skating by on a spot in the top four for a few years, and it would’ve seemed like not doing so could have been the final nail in the coffin. Instead, he was given another twelve months courtesy of their Wembley success, which in hindsight, may have been the biggest mistake of all.
But in terms of this game, it started off how many Arsenal encounters had done for months prior – with an early goal. Hector Bellerin latched onto the end of a ball at the far post to give them the lead, only for Laurent Koscielny’s red card just minutes later to set them back a few steps.
However, while it would’ve been easy for them to implode, the home side marched on and managed to double their lead courtesy of Alexis Sanchez. Looking back on it, you have to question how much the saga surrounding his future eventually affected the Chilean, given that his tenure with Manchester United has been far from remarkable up to this point.
In the second half Romelu Lukaku halved the deficit from the penalty spot with what would prove to be his final goal in an Everton shirt, and following a nervy 30 minutes, it was Aaron Ramsey who rubber-stamped the victory to ensure that Arsenal had done their part.
Alas, Liverpool’s win meant that it was all for nothing, and given what’s happened since then, it really is stunning to consider just how important these two games were. Arsenal went on to reach the Europa League semi-finals before crashing out, whereas Liverpool are travelling to Kiev later this week to play in the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid.
What was your best memory from last season?