Arsenal have Arsene Wenger to thank for Champions League run

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Football News

Arsene Wenger deserves credit for steering Arsenal into the Champions League for yet another season.

The Gunners have fallen short of their aim of winning the Premier League title, but Tottenham's 5-1 defeat at Newcastle meant that they finished above the Lilywhites yet again, and they have not finished outside the top four in two decades.  

Although other sides have not been at their best, Wenger can hold his head up high because of his record, even if this has been another disappointing season at the Emirates Stadium.


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High hopes

At the start of the season, many expected Arsenal to become champions, but the form of Leicester City and fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur ensured they took a back seat in the race for the league title.

Even as late as February, they were still in contention, with Danny Welbeck's late winner over Leicester sparking dreams of a title triumph, but defeats to Manchester United and Swansea at the end of that month ultimately proved costly.

Then, there is the added annoyance that Manchester United may yet draw level with Arsenal on their number of FA Cup wins. Wenger's side had eased to the trophy in the past two seasons after eight years without silverware prior to that, but this time, they were knocked out by Watford.  

Meanwhile, in the Champions League, they were knocked out by Barcelona, which was no shame, but fans were irritated by their struggles in the group stage. 

Silver lining

Yet, though Arsenal have failed to meet their supporters' expectations, Wenger deserves praise for managing to keep them in the top four in a year where most of the big teams have struggled to make their mark. 

United have missed out on the Champions League altogether as they were pipped to the post by Manchester City, and Louis van Gaal is likely to be sacked and replaced by Jose Mourinho even if they win the FA Cup. 

City themselves have been poor, and Pep Guardiola is actually quite fortunate that he will be leading them into European football next season. 

And so, even if Arsenal's main achievement this season appeared to be finishing ahead of Spurs, there can be no doubting that finishing in the top four remains a great feat. 

Wenger woes

The fans don't always see it that way, with Wenger the target of much protests during the victory over Norwich City earlier this month.

Arsenal fans can only tolerate not winning the league for so long, but even if they demand a change, they should be grateful to Wenger for keeping them in the top four for such an incredibly long time. 

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Thierry Henry
Premier League

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