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Arsenal gets late winner against Everton but has to settle for second place in Premier League

LONDON (AP) — For a brief moment, the Emirates Stadium crowd thought there was a chance.

Arsenal had just equalized in its season-ending game against Everton and some 200 miles to the north, West Ham had pulled a goal back against Manchester City to raise hopes of an unlikely miracle.

One more goal in each game could have swung the Premier League title race Arsenal's way, and the 60,000-strong crowd that had been silenced just moments earlier was suddenly raucous again.

But while there was one more goal in each game, only one of them went Arsenal's way.

Kai Havertz's 89th-minute winner ensured that Arsenal did its part by rallying for a 2-1 victory Sunday, but it wasn’t enough as Man City secured its fourth straight league title by beating West Ham 3-1.

Arsenal's 20-year wait for a Premier League title goes on, despite its best season since that 2003-04 title year when the “Invincibles” went unbeaten.

Arsenal finished on 89 points — its second-highest total ever in the Premier League, but two behind City.

“We have tried with everything that we had,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said. "You can sense how much we wanted it, we really tried. It wasn’t enough unfortunately.”

For a long time, it looked like it would be a double disappointment as Everton held Arsenal at bay despite having nothing to play for.

At least Havertz's late goal made sure the season ended with a festive atmosphere even on a day when any hopes of an unlikely title win quickly disappeared.

Arteta’s team needed to both beat Everton and hope City would somehow drop points against West Ham. But the Emirates crowd was quickly quieted when City was 2-0 up within 18 minutes in Manchester and Idrissa Gueye’s deflected free kick gave Everton the lead in the 40th in north London.

Then came the glimmer of hope, as Takehiro Tomiyasu quickly equalized and West Ham pulled a goal back before the break. But by the time Havertz put Arsenal ahead from close range, City had restored its two-goal cushion to ensure there was no last-minute drama.

“We’re all a little bit disappointed at the moment,” Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard told the crowd in an on-pitch interview. “We were closer than last year. But now we have to use the break to come back even stronger, even more hungry.”

It is the second year in a row that Arsenal finished in second place behind City, but there was a still a sense of progress.

Last year, the Gunners topped the standings for much of the season before a late collapse saw the Gunners finish five points behind City. This year Arsenal took the title fight to the last day.

And the team set a club record for most wins — 28 — and goals scored — 91 — in a Premier League season.

Not even that was enough to stop the Man City juggernaut, and Arteta is under no illusion about what it will take to finally take the last step next season.

“We’ve beat every record this club ever had apart from winning it,” Arteta said. "This is the most competitive league ever in history and we have to be better. Now we need to find ways we have to improve. ... We need to go to a different level. We need to deliver.”

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer