Arsenal overcome the challenge of CL qualification by defeating Newcastle 1-0
Arsenal came out on top after a dramatic final day shootout with Tottenham Hotspur for Champions League action next season. The Gunners confirmed their spot in the top four of the Premier League by grabbing a 1-0 victory over Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Sunday.
Arsenal center-back Laurent Koscielny was the savior for the Gunners. The French defender scored his first and last goal of the season in a game that confirmed Arsenal would play in the Champions League for the 16th consecutive year.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger exuberantly bounced around the pitch after the game, happy that his team had been able to best Tottenham Hotspur by one point on the Premier League table. That one point was all there is between Tottenham Hotspur and Champions League action.
“Since February 1, we have taken more points than everybody else in the league, and I don't believe that's just down to coincidence, but just to the fact that the group has grown, this team has grown through the season,” Arsene Wenger said.
“We lacked belief for long periods because we couldn't win a big game, but the Bayern [Munich] game changed our season away from home. In the last three months, I believe we have been remarkably consistent.
“We have won every away game, so it is a good springboard for next season, to transfer that belief into the start of next season. That means we need to have stability and strengthen our group if possible because there are many clubs out there with a lot of money, so the competition is very hard and there is not as much talent as money today in football.”
Despite a fourth finish, Arsene Wenger warned his players of being over-confident about playing in the Champions League next season. The Frenchman admitted Arsenal will have to come out of a tricky qualifying stage before confirming themselves in the coveted European tournament.
“It means to us to be able to play with the top teams in Europe - that's what you want,” Arsene Wenger added. “It means as well that it's easier to bring in players when you have a chance to be in the Champions League - let's not forget, we are not in yet, we have to qualify and that is always a very tricky round for us. But at least we have a chance.”