Like Christmas, it comes but once a year. The day when Tottenham Hotspur can no longer mathematically finish above Arsenal came last Monday when the Gunners cruised to a 3-0 victory over Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium. It’s a point worth making that Arsene Wenger’s men have always finished above Spurs since the Frenchman took charge in 1996 (making it 19 consecutive seasons). I saw an interesting tweet from @Arsenallthings that shows just what an incredible achievement that is: ‘If you bet a Spurs fan £20 in 1995 who would finish higher and played double or quits every season since’. They would now owe £10,485,760.00’.
The comfortable result also put us four points clear of 5th placed Everton with only two games remaining so a Top 4 place was almost certain. After Manchester City won 3-2 at Goodison Park earlier, Arsenal’s place in next year’s Champions League was confirmed (subject to a qualification tie in August). Again, Wenger has never finished out of the UCL in his 18-year tenure but this fact is often overlooked. People can laugh at the ‘fourth place is like a trophy’ comment but I for one like the consistency. I don’t wish to be watching my team on a Thursday like Tottenham or not having them in European competition like Manchester United next season.
Our final home game of the season is tomorrow against West Bromwich Albion and a win is always nice but as Everton have already lost this weekend, the pressure is already off. Hopefully that means we can relax in these final two games, enjoy our football and take some confidence to Wembley on the 17th. At the same time, I’m conscious of fatigue and injuries so I would be more than happy if Wenger rested a few key players. My mind is looking forward to ending the nine-year trophy drought and I am sure the team has the FA Cup in their crosshairs too.
By Glen Shorey