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Can Everton catch Arsenal?

Ross Barkley  [576x324] - Copy
Can Ross Barkley and Everton continue their rise and push ahead of Arsenal in the table?

The last time Everton and Arsenal played was roughly a month ago in the FA Cup quarterfinal, and Arsenal's 4-1 victory at the Emirates appeared to clarify which team was better. However, subsequent results have suggested that was not a fair reflection of the difference between the sides, and the teams are currently in a fierce battle for the fourth-place spot in the Premier League that grants a berth in next season’s Champions League.

Arsenal sits just four points ahead of Everton for fourth place. However, Everton has a game in hand on the Gunners, and after posting five straight victories the Merseyside club is most assuredly not going to fade away quietly. This makes Sunday’s matchup between the two teams an intense affair, fueled by the fact that none of the last eight Premier League meetings between the two teams have been decided by more than one goal.

Both Everton and Arsenal have made worthy cases for playing in the Champions League next season, and down the stretch there are particular factors that each team must exploit to its advantage in order to earn the lucrative fourth position. Here’s a look at how those factors impact each team, as well as each side’s current form and remaining schedule, followed by a prediction of which club will claim the Prem’s final Champions League spot.

Everton’s keys, end-of-season outlook

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Everton holds just a 15 percent chance of finishing in the top four, but that would increase to 31 percent with a win over Arsenal on Sunday.