Arsenal initially looked set for a genuine title charge, but an enormous raft of injuries well and truly derailed them over the second half of the season. Now, merely qualifying for the Champions League is some task for the Gunners, who will look to boost their chances of a top four finish with a win over West Ham United on Tuesday.
Everton leapfrogged Arsenal into fourth place with a win over Sunderland on the weekend, and are now a couple of points ahead of the Gunners. Finishing in the top four is still in the Toffees' hands, as even if Arsenal beat West Ham, Everton still have a game extra to play. Any further slipups could prove terminal to Arsenal's hopes of a top four finish.
However, despite their recent patchy form, Arsenal really ought to beat the Hammers. They are in some rather patchy form of their own, and come into this fixture on the back of a 2-1 defeat to league leaders Liverpool. Even so, Sam Allardyce has led his side to a comfortable 11th place position, with the Christmastime fears of a relegation battle never materialising.
Because of the importance of the fixture, it's unlikely that Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger will rest his star players -- despite many of them playing 120 minutes in the Gunners' penalty victory over Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup semifinal on the weekend. They'll still be without Jack Wilshere, Mesut Özil and the suspended Mathieu Flamini, among others.
Arsenal injuries and suspensions
West Ham United injuries and suspensions
Out: Joey O'Brien (shoulder), Marco Borriello (calf). In doubt: George McCartney (hamstring), James Collins (calf).
Match Date/Time: Tuesday, 7:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET
Venue: Emirates Stadium, London, England
TV: NBCSN (U.S.), RDS, TSN (Canada), Sky Sports 1/HD (U.K.)
Online: NBC Sports Live Extra (U.S.), Sky Go (U.K.)