Five matches that got Arsenal into the Champions League

Olivier Giroud 3

Arsenal produced an almost nerveless display to see off Newcastle United on the last day of the season, but there were wins earlier in the year that were more crucial as they beat Tottenham Hotspur to the last Champions League place.

Here are the key moments in Arsenal's season...

Bayern Munich 0-2 Arsenal

Coming on the heels of their defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, and set to finish trophy-less once again after losing to Blackburn in the FA Cup, the win at Bayern Munich was a vital lift to the squad. It also established the line-up that was central to their excellent run in, with Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker imperious behind MIkel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey. A more dubious bonus was that it whilst was a good result, Arsenal were still knocked out of the Champions League, allowing all their focus to be on the Premiership.

Swansea 0-2 Arsenal

The following game saw Arsenal get back on track in the Premier League, and the win away at Swansea was the first of eight in the last ten games. It demonstrated Arsenal’s new found resolve in defence, and ramped up the pressure on Spurs who went through their one significant late season blip, losing to Liverpool and Fulham to allow Arsenal to close right up behind them.

West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Arsenal

From then on it was a case of who would blink first, and Arsenal were relentless in seeing off all-comers. One match were they could easily have dropped points came away at West Brom, when Arsenal, 2-0 up with twenty minutes to go, were seemingly coasting to victory. However within a minute a red card for Mertesacker and a penalty for West Brom saw them having to hold on to their one goal lead with ten men, a situation in which they could easily have crumbled.

Arsenal 3-1 Norwich City

In the 85th minute, Arsenal were 1-0 down and set for a disastrous result at home to Norwich. However a five minute spell where Arteta, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski all found the net turned despair into delight, and ensured Arsenal took full advantage of Spurs’ fixture postponement to open up a sizeable lead over their neighbours.

Arsenal 4-1 Wigan Athletic

With Newcastle safe, Arsenal knew that if they could beat Wigan at home they would head to St James’ Park with every chance of getting the three points needed to secure fourth place. The trouble was, Wigan were sky high on confidence after beating Manchester City in the FA Cup final, and desperate for three points themselves to try and climb out of the relegation zone. At half-time, it was 1-1, and suddenly there was some doubt around the Emirates. However Wojiech Szczesny’s superb save from Kone kept it level, before Arsenal woke up to score three times and put themselves on the brink of Champions League football once again.

images:  © wonker

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