As The Gunners saw their Champions League hopes in shatters after the North London derby defeat yesterday two players with Emirates connections were involved in a barnstorming Champions League chasing tie in La Liga; as Real Sociedad and Real Betis shared the spoils in a 3-3 draw.
It was a sorry weekend for Arsenal as they saw their top four aspirations go up in smoke after being toppled in the North London derby by Tottenham Hotspur.
The result leaves them seven points behind their North London rivals and five behind Chelsea in fourth place with 10 games remaining in the Premier League season.
After what was a good run of Premier League form the result puts them back under the spotlight with Everton now only two points behind them in the battle for fifth place.
While the battle for Europe in the English Premier League is beginning to stretch out the same cannot be said about the battle for European football in Spain’s La Liga.
While Barcelona look to have run away with the title Atletico and Real Madrid are also well clear of Malaga in fourth place. The same cannot be said for Malaga however as a look below them sees just three points separating Los Anchovies from Real Betis in seventh with Valencia and Real Sociedad in between.
So this weekend’s fixture between Real Betis and Real Sociedad obviously had extra spice; and interestingly two players with Arsenal connections could make the Champions League in Spain.
The two sides played out an entertaining 3-3 draw at Anoeta on Sunday night where Colombian Dorlan Pabon scored the vital equaliser in the 66th minute.
But earlier in the game Real Betis had taken the lead; with the first goal being laid on a plate for Jorge Molina by none other than Arsenal loanee Joel Campbell. The Costa Rican has really found his form in recent months and this fixture was no different. Cutting on to his dangerous left foot from the right wing he found Molina in space in the box who coolly finished for 1-0.
But the Arsenal connection did not end there as a player they deemed surplus to requirements in the summer continued his great form. Mexican striker Carlos Vela was sold to Sociedad for £4 million last summer and has had a great season in La Liga.
Yesterday he scored Sociedad’s first in reply before turning provider for Inigo Martinez’s equaliser.
That took his goal-scoring and assist record for the season to 12 and seven respectively. He has played in 64 games for the San Sebastian club over the last two seasons and featured in 64 games hitting the net 24 times and creating 15 goals. During his three years playing for Arsenal he managed 62 appearances scoring 11 and assisting seven; a record he has beat in just 27 games this season.
So as these two players look closer to a Champions League spot away from Arsenal do The Gunners need to ask questions about letting Vela go and whether to sort out Campbell’s work permit for next season?
images: © wonker