Belfast Telegraph

Arsene Wenger silent on his contract situation as Arsenal miss the cut

Arsenal 2-1 Everton

By Olawale Kuponipe

Arsene Wenger would not be drawn on his future at the Emirates after Arsenal missed out on a Champions League place for the first time in almost two decades.

Goals from Hector Bellerin, Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey saw the Gunners claim a 3-1 victory over Everton, but it was not enough as wins for Manchester City and Liverpool saw Arsenal miss out on a top-four finish by one point on the final day of the Premier League season.

There could also be a price to pay for next weekend's FA Cup final against Chelsea as Laurent Koscielny was sent off just 14 minutes in and Gabriel was carried off on a stretcher.

Following the match Wenger did not want to focus on his personal situation, but said the tension coming from fans who want him out was not helping the players.

"Look, my personal situation tonight is not so important," Wenger said.

"Even if I leave one day I will love this club until the last day of my life, and I want this club to do well and that's all I care about tonight.

"It's not my personal situation, it's just how well the club responds next season. We are professionals and part of being professional is to perform when the environment is not positive. We have not to look there as well as an excuse, but I just say it's a fact - it doesn't help."

A fifth-placed finish means Wenger's men will be on the outside looking in after 19 straight seasons in Europe's elite club competition.

Wenger did not take part in the lap of honour with his squad, but when asked if that signalled the end of his time at Arsenal, he said: "No, not at all."

Despite defeat, Everton finished seventh and will join Arsenal in the Europa League.

However, manager Ronald Koeman said it was imperative to find players who can give his side more aggression and productivity.

"It wasn't good enough," the Dutchman said. "We saw today what we need for the next season. We need more productivity.

"That's the difference between us and Arsenal. We did everything to win but we had to score. It was a long time 11 v 10 and a penalty isn't enough."

ARSENAL: Cech, Gabriel (Mertesacker, 53 mins), Koscielny, Holding, Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka (Coquelin, 62 mins), Monreal, Ozil, Welbeck, Sanchez (Iwobi, 67 mins). Unused subs: Ospina, Elneny, Walcott, Giroud.

EVERTON: Robles, Holgate, Jagielka, Williams, Baines, Gueye (Barry, 46 mins), Schneiderlin, Davies (Barkley, 21 mins), Valencia (Kone, 83 mins), Lukaku, Mirallas. Unused subs: Hewelt, Williams, Pennington, Besic, Kone.

Referee: Michael Oliver

Man of the Match: Hector Bellerin

Match rating: 7/10

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