Mesut Ozil will be back in the Arsenal line-up for the game against Hull, after recovering from his injury. – AFP Photo
IT came earlier than expected. Everton’s slip-up, that is.
With only four matches remaining – two of which are against both the Manchester clubs – Everton stumbled in their race to win fourth place with their defeat to Crystal Palace in midweek.
The ball is now in Arsenal’s court.
Roberto Martinez should have known better – Everton, he said, apparently lost because they played like Arsenal: “with a bit of fear”. Palace had no problems absorbing the Everton pressure and picking them apart.
Arsenal will now need to do their part in absorbing their own pressure to hold on to the top four spot, now that they have a one-point advantage over the Toffees.
Their match against Hull tomorrow is already a must-win as a dress rehearsal of their FA Cup final, and it is now even more crucial for the Gunners to win if they want to secure their Champions League funding of some £25mil (RM136mil) next year.
They cannot even afford a draw, not with their inferior goal difference (who would have thought there would be such a day) – Arsenal have +18 compared to Everton’s +22.
Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat of West Ham on Tuesday means they’ll need to “run” towards their goal, literally.
It is not just Roy Keane who has noticed it. Arsenal’s opponents have all made outrunning Arsenal their key tactic. West Ham were no different; sitting tight and trying to beat Arsenal on the counter. In fact, they almost did but luckily Arsenal managed to get something from the dregs of their self-belief to come from behind after going down 1-0 to grab a 3-1 win.
Arsenal have a good record against Hull, beating the Tigers the last five times they’ve met, including a 2-0 win at the Emirates earlier this season, courtesy of goals from Nicklas Bendtner and Mesut Ozil.
Gooners will be happy to hear that Ozil will make his return from injury at Hull. With Aaron Ramsey also back in the fold, Ozil’s return will see Arsenal re-discovering their firepower ... hopefully.
Hariati predicts a 2-1 win for the Gunners.