Arsenal seal Champs spot

Chelsea finish third; Totteham miss out despite narrow victory
Last Updated 19 May 2013, 19:29 IST

Arsenal claimed the final Champions League spot at the expense of their arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur on the last day of the Premier League season on Sunday with a 1-0 win at Newcastle United.

Defender Laurent Koscielny put visitors Arsenal ahead in the 52nd minute to secure fourth place with 73 points, one point ahead of fifth-placed Spurs who mustered a late goal from Gareth Bale to beat Sunderland 1-0 at White Hart Lane.

Chelsea sealed third place on 75 points with a 2-1 win at home to Everton.

Manchester United had already been crowned champions and their attention was on giving retiring manager Alex Ferguson a send-off to remember but as the goals rained in they could not give him a win as they drew 5-5 at West Bromwich Albion.

Last year’s champions Manchester City finished 11 points behind United in second after a 3-2 defeat at home to Norwich City.

With first and second place decided some time ago and all three relegation spots already determined, the burning issue of the day centred on who would grab the final top-four place.

Discounting the highly improbable mathematical possibilities, it boiled down to a battle between north London’s big foes Arsenal and Tottenham.

Arsene Wenger’s side had the advantage before kickoff, with a one-point lead and the knowledge that as long as they won at Newcastle, the Champions League place was theirs.

They were facing a Newcastle side who were no longer troubled by relegation fears after securing their top-flight status and that lack of pressure translated into a troublesome first half for Arsenal as the hosts enjoyed the better chances.

Arsenal came out for the second half with a bit more spark and seven minutes into it finally got the goal they craved as Theo Walcott's free-kick was headed on by Per Mertesacker and Koscielny stayed on side to prod the ball home.

Walcott hit the post in stoppage time as Arsenal ended a nervy game on top and completed a turnaround since trailing Spurs by seven points in March after losing the north London derby.

(Published 19 May 2013, 19:29 IST)

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