Everton Face Test of Champions League Hopes

Everton Face Test of Champions League Hopes

Everton can take a

huge step towards an unlikely top-four finish and Champions League football

next season if they can maintain their recent run of great form by winning at

To do that, they will

have to overcome opponents who have risen to third in the table on the back of

a superb run of results just as the race for Champions League qualification

With Manchester United

and Manchester City set to finish first and second, Arsenal, Chelsea and

Tottenham Hotspur have been jostling for the remaining two Champions League

spots for the last three months.

will make Everton serious contenders too.

Yet victory at Arsenal

seven points from their last six matches to win the title lead the pack with 80

points from 32 games, 15 points clear of City who have 65 from 31.

United, who need just

from 32, followed by Chelsea on 58 from 31, Spurs on 58 from 32 and Everton 55

from 32.

Arsenal have 59 points

Emirates Stadium is one of four important midweek Premier League games before a

full programme next weekend.

Tomorrow's match at

Manchester United play at West Ham United on Thursday (NZT), fourth-placed

Chelsea play at neighbours Fulham and Manchester City host

relegation-threatened Wigan Athletic in an FA Cup final rehearsal.

Runaway leaders

European Ambitions

chasing a 16th successive Champions League berth next season, have recovered

superbly since they were beaten 2-1 at arch-rivals Spurs on March 3.

Arsenal, who are

league games since then, including Sunday's 3-1 victory over Norwich City when

all three goals came in the last six minutes.

They have won all four

ambitions have taken root with four wins and a draw from their last five games,

with coach David Moyes praising his team's professionalism in their 2-0 win

against relegation candidates Queens Park Rangers on Sunday (NZT).

Everton's European

important win and a very disciplined and professional performance. Now, if we

can go and win at Arsenal, you might say that we've got a chance of being

involved in the Champions League.

"It was a very

you'll probably say we've got a chance of making the Europa League. No matter

what happens there, the players have given themselves a great chance."

"If we don't,

"There's six games left to go. We've been doing it for most of the season.

Why would it change in the last few games?"

He added:

is their record against Arsenal. They have lost eight of their last 11 league

matches and not beaten them for six years.

What Everton need to change

Another Step

brushed aside a toothless Stoke City 2-0 yesterday, can take another step

towards their 20th title if they win at mid-table West Ham who drew 1-1 with

Southampton on Sunday.

Manchester United, who

from Robin van Persie gave United a 2-2 draw at Upton Park on their last visit

there for an FA Cup third-round tie in January.

A last-minute goal

record at the ground, winning their last three league matches there and

outscoring the Hammers 9-2.

They have a good

of the FA Cup final on May 11, Manchester City meet Wigan at home with the game

of far greater significance to their opponents.

In a dress-rehearsal

the relegation zone, but have two matches in hand on the teams above them.

Wigan are 18th and in

relinquished their hold on the FA Cup on Sunday when they lost 2-1 in their

semi-final against Manchester City, will be playing their seventh match in 19

days, when they make the short trip to Fulham.

Chelsea, who

Cottage ground is just two miles from Chelsea's Stamford Bridge.

Fulham's Craven

usually do well at Fulham having lost there only once in the Premier League,

and interim coach Rafa Benitez will be desperate for all three points to keep

their momentum going in the race for Champions League qualification.

Chelsea

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