So it comes down to the final game of the Premier League season. Arsene Wenger’s proud record of never finishing outside of the top four with Arsenal is at serious risk and he must get a result on Sunday against a manager he’s notoriously struggled to overcome.
No it’s not Jose Mourinho.
In fact the Frenchman recorded a first league win over a side managed by the ‘special one’ in 17 meetings during the Gunners’ 2-0 win over Manchester United earlier in the month which has kept their hopes of Champions League qualification alive.
That’s one obstacle cleared and now Wenger must do the same this weekend when an Everton side – with nothing to play for except pride – travel to the Emirates Stadium where they could do bitter rivals Liverpool a huge favour.
Should the Reds drop points at Anfield against Middlesbrough, then the door will be open for the north London outfit to take full advantage and leapfrog Jurgen Klopp’s side in the table and snatch that coveted fourth spot right at the death.
It would be so Arsenal for that to happen right? But first and foremost they must get past a Toffees side managed by Ronald Koeman and if history tells us anything, Sunday might bring even more misery for Gooners.
Since the pair’s first meeting back in 2003, the Dutchman has collected five wins from 12 matches against Wenger, with Everton’s 2-1 win over Arsenal in December bolstering Koeman’s already impressive record from his time at Ajax and Southampton.
Furthermore, he’s now only tasted two defeats in those meetings, with five different clubs across all competitions against the Gunners boss – a stat that must change if Wenger is to lead his side into European football’s elite competition next season.
Wenger’s head-to-head record against Koeman
Feb 18, 2003: Arsenal 1-1 Ajax – Champions League
Feb 26, 2003: Ajax 0-0 Arsenal – Champions League
Feb 20, 2007: PSV Eindhoven 1-0 Arsenal – Champions League
Mar 7, 2007: Arsenal 1-1 PSV Eindhoven – Champions League
Oct 20, 2009: AZ 1-1 Arsenal – Champions League
Nov 4, 2009: Arsenal 4-1 AZ – Champions League
Sep 23, 2014: Arsenal 1-2 Southampton – League Cup
Dec 3, 2014: Arsenal 1-0 Southampton – Premier League
Jan 1, 2015: Southampton 2-0 Arsenal – Premier League
Dec 26, 2015: Southampton 4-0 Arsenal – Premier League
Feb 2, 2016: Arsenal 0-0 Southampton – Premier League
Dec 13, 2016: Everton 2-1 Arsenal – Premier League
P:12 W:2 D:5 L5
Win percentage: 0.58%