Arsene Wenger went with the same team which beat Wigan 4-1 on Tuesday night which I found a little surprising. All the signs were Mikael Arteta would miss the game through injury but he was in the starting 11. Olivier Giroud had to be content with a place on the bench on his return from his three game suspension as Lukas Podolski continued in the centre forward role.
The first half was a tense affair with few chances for either team and I hoped that Arsenal could pick up the pace in the second half with the game at 0-0. The crucial moment of the game came only seven minutes into the second half and it came from Arsenal's best player on the day. Theo Walcott took a free from the right and it was headed back to Laurent Koscielny who swiveled and volleyed home with a deflection off the keeper's head.
Arsenal had the lead they wanted and with both Chelsea and Spurs drawing they still had a chance to finish third. They would have needed another goal to move ahead of Chelsea if Chelsea couldn't beat Everton, but Arsenal dropped deeper and deeper to defend their precious 1-0 lead. They worked tirelessly to a man and did all they could to prevent Newcastle creating any chances.
As the time ticked by I became more nervous and when Chelsea went 2-1 up on Everton the hopes of third place disappeared. In the very last minute of their game Spurs scored against Sunderland and now Arsenal knew they had to keep their lead or face the prospect of Europa League football next season. There were four minutes added at the end of the game and in that time Theo Walcott missed a glorious chance to calm the nerves of the players and fans.
I'm not quite sure how he contrived to hit the post when it seemed easier to score, but thankfully there was no price to be paid for the miss. The Arsenal players took every chance they had to run the clock down and in truth saw the game out as comfortably as could be hoped for. When the final whistle went there was unbridled joy for Arsenal and the realisation for Spurs that they still weren't good enough to finish ahead of Arsenal.
The final qualifying round of the Champions League won't be easy but it's a much better prospect than Thursday night football with Europe's also rans.
With the season over the next task for Arsenal is to build a team and squad that can truly challenge at the top next season. It won't be an easy task with so many of the top English clubs facing an overhaul this summer and competition will be fierce for the best players available. Arsenal can at least offer Champions League football as a carrots to any potential signings.
The players finished the season very well with 26 points from the last 10 games, but that cannot be taken as a sign that the squad is good enough as it is. The absence of Giroud in the last three games through suspension showed how wafer thin the striking options are and both the defence and midfield need strengthening too. The club have the money to spend and the boss needs to bring in the players that will improve the squad and team.
This season wasn't good enough because Arsenal didn't truly challenge for any trophies and very few people expected them to at the outset. The height of their expectations was a top four finish and they achieved that, but those expectations need to be a lot higher for next season. The squad needs to look strong enough at the start of the season for the fans to truly believe they will contend for the league title first and foremost.
If they can really challenge and still don't win a trophy it will be a major step forward in my opinion. Of course I would love a trophy but there are only four trophies to play for and an awful lot of other teams looking to win them too. This current crop of players has real potential and the right additions might just help them to realise that potential.
Finally for today I would like to wish all Arsenal fans yet another happy St. Totteringham's Day. It's something we have become accustomed to under Wenger and long may that continue. It was a little too close for my liking but thankfully Arsenal delivered when it mattered.
That's it for today.
See you tomorrow.