Arsenal reach Champions League at the expense of Tottenham
Arsene Wenger cut a delighted figure when the final whistle was blown at St James’ Park on Sunday, with Arsenal securing a 1-0 win against Newcastle which means Champions League football remains at the Emirates next term.
May 19th, 2013
A couple of months ago and the prospect of the Gunners finishing in the top four looked a remote prospect, although a solid unbeaten run saw Arsenal leapfrog Tottenham and make sure that they will continue to dine at the European top table.
The defence has been much improved thanks to Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny forming a strong partnership and the latter scored the only goal of Sunday’s game to mean Arsenal remain a Champions League team.
“I’m proud of the character and the spirit, especially with all we had to deal with during the season,” Wenger told Sky Sports.
“The players are special. I’ve told them many times and they’ve shown it. In the last two months they have been absolutely exceptional.
“It’s a good basis, as well, on a longer term to go into next season on such a strong run.
“I’m very proud. We were very far behind Tottenham and even after defeat there (at White Hart Lane) we’ve shown character and attitude to come back and make 73 points, which is three points better than last season.
“I have had many groups in my life and the focus and the desire to do well was always exceptional. It’s one of the best groups I’ve had in my life on that front.
“The combination of quality and attitude has been great, and that’s why I always had faith that we would come back.”
Tottenham supporters received false information that Newcastle had equalised against the Gunners, with Gareth Bale striking a late winner against Sunderland to ensure that Spurs held up their end of the bargain with a 1-0 win against the Black Cats.
Bale’s future at White Hart Lane will now come into question after the club could only qualify for the Europa League, with the winger potentially agreeing to stay for one more campaign on the basis that Tottenham continue to strengthen.