Everton can still earn Champions League spot, says Graeme Sharp
Graeme Sharp says Everton can still make the top four, despite drawing with Arsenal.
Last Updated: 17/04/13 12:14pm
The result wasn't ideal for either side; the Gunners now sit two points clear in third but have played two games more than fourth-placed Chelsea, who travel to Fulham on Wednesday night, while Everton are two points adrift of the qualification places in sixth.
However, former Everton forward Sharp told Sky Sports David Moyes' men can still bridge the gap to the top four and qualify for Europe's elite club competition.
"It's not over yet for Everton," he said.
"As it stands they're still in with a shout. They go to Sunderland on Saturday and with Paolo Di Canio there, and after their great result at the weekend, it will be difficult - but Everton can go there believing.
"There are some tricky fixtures remaining for all the teams going for the Champions League spots and Everton won't count themselves out until it is mathematically impossible [for them to qualify for the Champions League]."
Sharp credited the Toffees' backline for denying Arsenal a vital goal on home turf and says Moyes will now turn his focus to Everton's next fixture - rather than worrying about permutations and comparing his rivals' run-ins.
"Everton were under the cosh for a bit in the second half and you were thinking 'are they going to hold on' but Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin and Seamus Coleman defended heroically at times to keep Arsenal at bay," he said.
"We can look at the fixtures but now the next one is the most important for Everton - and that's what David Moyes will be stressing to his players."
Meanwhile, Arsenal legend Ian Wright feels Arsene Wenger and the Gunners fans will be disappointed with only earning a point on their own patch - and said his former club could have made life easier for themselves by converting one of several opportunities they created during the game.
"I think Everton will be happier with the point," said the ex-England forward, who netted 185 goals for the North London club.
"Arsenal were at home and you want to win your home games but Everton did play well. Arsenal had some good chances but it just didn't happen and in the end a draw is a fair result.
"Arsenal haven't got a bad run-in; you'd like to think they'd get something at Fulham, Man United at home will be difficult, but they should get three points at QPR, although Wigan are still playing for something and then travelling to Newcastle who need to finish off the season with a flurry for their fans won't be easy.
"It still isn't over and when you consider Chelsea are two behind with two in hand and you don't know what Tottenham are going to do - if they beat Man City it's back on - Arsenal aren't comfortable in third.
"That's why this was a vital game for them to try and win."
If Arsenal did miss out on a top-four place Wright fears it could be hugely damaging for the club and upset their chances of signing the quality players he feels they need to progress.
"If they missed out on the Champions League it would open a few eyes in respect of what needs to be done," he said.
"We've qualified for the Champions League for many, many years but only been to the final once. Yes, they're qualifying but you want to get to it and do something.
"If Wenger spends money like he says he will this summer, fine - but if they miss out how will he attract the players to get us back into the top four? It would be quite disastrous if we don't finish in the top four and Wenger doesn't get the players they need to kick on."