Upon the sun drenched St James' Park pitch it was in Arsenal’s hands to secure the final Champions League spot and break Tottenham hearts.

And that’s precisely what they did.

With Arsenal a point ahead of Spurs prior to kick off, a victory would guarantee their place in next season’s Champions League whatever the result at White Hart Lane and this victory was presented to the Gunners by Laurent Koscielny’s 52nd-minute winner.

The travelling Arsenal fans were really up for it but the match began slowly and they saw the first chance of the match fall to Theo Walcott after five minutes; blazing a volley over the bar following a Santi Cazorla free kick.

Newcastle then came close to taking the lead through Papiss Cisse after seven minutes but he failed to convert Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s low cross; leaning back on his weak foot.

The half continued at a ponderous pace as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced Mikel Arteta on 27  minutes due to the calf injury, that threatened to keep Arteta out.

The half laboured to a close with both Cazorla and Hatem Ben Arfa having glorious chances but both blazing over for their respective teams.

The only real highlight of the half was the applause that rang out around the stadium on the 37th minute for Newcastle keeper Steve Harper, as appreciation for his service over the years, during his final game for the team.

The second half started at a lightening pace with Walcott nearly giving Arsenal the lead but he was denied down low by Harper – after his mistake led to the chance.

Then came Arsenal’s winner on 52 minutes. Walcott crossed in from a free kick by the corner flag, Lukas Podolski headed the ball down towards goal and the ball was then put in by a swivelling Koscienly on the volley.

Newcastle then dominated the final third of the match without really threatening and the only real chance of the remainder of the match fell to Walcott on the counter. A chance that he failed to convert after leaving two defenders in his wake – hitting the post when one-on-one with Harper.

Full time: Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal

Champions League football once again at the Emirates and this will no doubt help Wenger attract the top quality signings required by the Gunners to truly challenge for honours next season.

The only questions left to answer are whether or not Wenger will stick by his word and make the big signings that he finally promises and if Arsenal can finally end their 8-year trophy drought in the 2013-2014 season.

Wenger is hoping that Arsenal can do just that and looking certainly to be there or thereabouts in the title race next season.

He told Sky Sports: “It's a good basis, as well, on a longer term to go into next season on such a strong run.

“We want to do that next season. Let's not forget the consistency we've shown over the years in qualifying for the Champions League and knowing everybody is desperate to get in there.

“Consistency is the most difficult thing in our sport. We need it over the season.”

Lineups

Newcastle United: Harper, Debuchy, Taylor, Coloccini (c), Yanga-Mbiwa, Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Tiote, Gutierrez, Gouffran, Cisse

Subs – Alnwick, Simpson, Anita, Perch, Marveaux, Obertan, Campbell

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Ramsey, Arteta (c), Walcott, Rosicky, Cazorla, Podolski

Subs – Fabianski, Vermaelen, Wilshere, Giroud, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho, Monreal

 

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Topics:
#Premier League
#Arsenal
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