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Arsene Wenger calls Champions League spot ‘vital’

This weekend was the final weekend of the 2013 Premier League. All eyes were on Arsene Wenger and Andre Villas-Boas’ teams in their battles for a place in next year’s Champions League.

Arsenal and Tottenham were both fighting for fourth place which would guarantee them a place in the 2014 tournament, but Wenger’s team had the advantage. Arsenal only needed the win against Newcastle to qualify, whereas Tottenham had to beat Sunderland and rely on Newcastle defeating the Gunners to secure their place.

Both knowing they needed a solid win to qualify, Arsene Wenger and Villas-Boas must have been feeling the pressure when their respective first halves both ended goalless. Just under an hour of play had passed before a rare goal from Arsenal’s defender, Laurent Koscielny, gave the Gunners the lead. As it stood, they had a place in the Champions League; but Wenger knew the race for fourth wasn’t over yet.

As the news spread to White Hart Lane, Tottenham still couldn’t find a goal. Just as the crowd was losing hope, the PFA Player of the year, Gareth Bale, scored an incredible goal, finally giving the fans something to cheer about. In stoppage time at the Emirates, Theo Walcott could have sealed the victory, but his shot struck the post. However, the miss didn’t matter as Arsene Wenger’s men kept their one goal lead, granting them a place in next year’s Champions League.

After the match, the Frenchman commented, “Qualification means it is easier to bring in players when we have a chance to be in the Champion’s League. In the last three months, we have been remarkably consistent.”  Arsene Wenger continued to talk about his players, “I’m happy because the exceptional attitude and determination from the players has been rewarded. They continued to believe when we were seven points behind Tottenham in March. We had no room for error and you could never see any sign of the players giving in.”

Author Daniel Foster.
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