Alistair Magowan, BBC Sport at the Emirates Stadium
The Gunners did everything they could to try to finish in the top four for the first time since 2016, but the damage had been done in their two previous games – defeats to north London rivals Tottenham, and the resurrection of Newcastle.
The second of these losses prompted Granit Xhaka to question the character of his teammates, but they showed an appetite to make up for their performance at St James’ Park by putting Everton under pressure from the first whistle.
Despite the disappointment of missing out on the top four, the season can still be seen as progress for Mikel Arteta’s young side.
But the Arsenal boss will have to contend with the future of Eddie Nketiah, midfielder Mohamed Elneny and striker Alexandre Lacazette, whose contracts all expire this summer.
Everton fans will be even more relieved that their side extended their 68-year stay in the Premier League on Thursday, like their wretched form continued.
They have won just once away from Goodison Park since August, although a very different side showed glimpses of attacking threat.
But what will disappoint Frank Lampard the most is that his side have conceded three goals from corners, particularly with Michael Keane, Mason Holgate and Jarrad Branthwaite in the bottom three.
The visiting fans were in high spirits until Arsenal took a three-goal lead, but after celebrating their survival at the top on Thursday their party was probably over.
They still found the energy to party when they heard Manchester City took a 3-2 lead against Aston Villastripping Liverpool of the title.