Arsenal qualify for Champions League yet again; Spurs must now hope Bayern defeat Chelsea
The race to achieve qualification for next year’s Champion’s League concluded in exhilarating fashion as the 2011/2012 Premier League season signed off with a bang.
The trio of Newcastle, Tottenham and Arsenal all went into Sunday afternoon with the opportunity of finishing in third place and with it all the riches that playing against the European elite brings.
Of course the usually coveted fourth spot was up for grabs as well; however the club that finished there would run the risk of heartbreak should Chelsea win the Champions League and by way of rights become the fourth English club to gain entry into the competition.
It’s fair to say that this season’s big over-achievers, Newcastle, required something of a mini-miracle to finish third. If Arsenal and Tottenham both failed to win and they could win at Goodison Park, the fairytale would be complete.
However it wasn’t meant to be and perhaps it was just a case of a step too far for the Geordies as they went down 3-1 and secured fifth spot in the league.
It has to be noted that it is still a monumental achievement when you look at the clubs they are competing with at the pinnacle of the best league in the world. Finishing ahead of the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea shows just why Alan Pardew received the manager of the season award and he will know there will be high expectations come August, but for now all those associated with the club should take time to reflect on a great season.
This meant that the two fierce rivals, Arsenal and Tottenham, were battling it out for both the bragging rights of being top dog in London and the ever-important automatic qualification to Europe’s footballing showpiece.
Arsenal, a point ahead of Spurs, knew their fate was in their own hands. All they needed to do was match Tottenham’s result and third place was theirs.
The thing with the Gunners is they never like to do anything the easy way. You never quite know what Arsenal side you’re going to see with the current squad but yesterday they showed their desire and resilience when they may have caved in earlier in the season.
In coming back from 2-1 down to win 3-2, Arsene Wenger once again proved that his managerial prowess isn’t to be questioned.
All this meant that despite a comfortable victory against Fulham, Spurs will have to pray Chelsea taste defeat in Munich on 19th May. Surely they’ll be wondering what could have been had their form not been so disappointing over the course of the second half of the season.
On a day that proved just why football is the most enthralling of sports, all three teams that battled it out for the remaining two Champions League positions did themselves proud. Nothing like a happy ending on the last day of the season, is there?