Terrace View – Arsenal Clinch Fourth – By Billie Marshall

Arsenal endured a nervous last game of the season to qualify for the Champions League for a 16th consecutive season after a narrow victory over Newcastle at the Sports Direct Arena.

Heading into the final day needing to win to assure Arsenal the 4th place they wanted, Laurent Koscielny scored the only goal of the game to fend off any potential challenge from north London rivals Tottenham.

It was a nervous ending for the Gunners after Gareth Bale had struck late in the game at White Hart Lane but Arsenal held on to the relief of the travelling support.

Newcastle had the better of a first half starved of any real chances, but it was another second half performance that inspired Arsenal to victory. Koscielny smartly turned in a Theo Walcott free-kick to score the winner.

At a ground that has been somewhat unfortunate to Arsenal in the past, Newcastle started the better. Yanga Mbiwa escaped down the Arsenal right and pulled back the ball but Papiss Cisse hit his shot well over.

In a similar move at the other end, Kieran Gibbs raced cleared and cut inside of Debuchy, but his pull back was hit high and wide by Santi Cazorla from the edge of the area.

Both sides failed to create many chances in a first half dominated by each sides defensive capabilities, with long range shots from Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye comfortably wide.

Arsenal have the best record in the Premier League in the second half of games this season and it showed yet again. Walcott’s free-kick was headed goal bound by Lukas Podolski for Koscielny to smartly turn and volley the ball past goalkeeper Steve Harper from close range.

Newcastle continued to apply pressure but failed to break the Arsenal defence, capped by a fantastic performance from goal scorer Laurent Koscielny.

Ben Arfa again shot from long range, but when Tiote gave the ball to Theo Walcott in injury time the striker could only see his shot cannon back off the post and miss a chance to wrap up the game.

Despite more Newcastle pressure Arsenal held out to claim a vital victory which see’s Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger again achieve Champions League qualification.

There was a small chance of 3rd place or a potential play-off to decide 3rd place, but due to Chelsea’s victory over Everton, Arsenal will remain in 4th position.

It has been a season of up and down’s at Arsenal but their 7th 1-0 victory of the season has ended the season on a high and seen them once again finish above rivals Tottenham.

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