Arsenal secured their place in next season's UEFA Champions League with a tense win over Newcastle on Sunday.Laurent Koscielny proved to be the hero for Arsenal as he fired acrobatically past Steve Harper from close range after latching on to the end of a Theo Walcott free-kick to book the Emirates Stadium outfit's place in Europe's top club competition next term.
That proved to be enough for the Gunners as they held off a
spirited fightback from the hosts to claim the points.
Newcastle made two changes from the team that secured
safety against QPR last weekend, with Steven Taylor coming in for Mike
Williamson and goalkeeper Steve Harper making his final appearance for the club
in place of the suspended Rob Elliot.
Arsene Wenger's side remained unchanged
following their win over Wigan, but Olivier Giroud returned to the squad
The London outfit made the better start to the
game, but it was the hosts who had the first clear chance, Papiss Cisse firing
over after latching on to a low cross from Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
Arsenal had their first opportunity as Koscielny headed wide from a corner at the near post.
Newcastle displayed good spirit, and the
visitors' dominance soon faded, as Cisse and Yoan Gouffran both squandered
Wenger's men suffered a blow midway through the
first half when Mikel Arteta was forced off with a calf problem to be replaced
by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The contest developed into something of a war of
attrition thereafter, with both sides enjoying spells of possession without
creating any real goalscoring opportunities before the interval.
Arsenal, though, could have been ahead just a
minute into the second period, Harper making a strong save from Walcott
after Newcastle had carelessly given the ball away in their own half.
That chance proved to be a pointer to Arsenal's opener, as
Koscielny latched on to Lukas Podolski's flick-on from Walcott's right-wing
free-kick after 52 minutes to volley home.
Pardew's charges were not deterred by falling
behind and continued to create chances, with Gouffran going closest as he failed to
connect with a near-post ball from Mathieu Debuchy before Hatem Ben Arfa fired
wide from distance.
Arsenal were able to hold on without much difficulty for the remainder of the second half, but they should have added a second when Walcott broke free to hit the post late on - with the ball rebounding safely back into Harper's grasp.
Ultimately, that miss proved inconsequential though, as Wenger's men held on to continue the French manager's streak of ensuring UEFA Champions League football in every year of his tenure.
|10||H. Ben Arfa|
|Coach: A. Pardew|
for Y. Cabaye 57'
for Y. Gouffran 65'
for M. Yanga-Mbiwa 80'
|Mourinho tells Ronaldo: Team honours come first|
|Khedira returns to Juve training|
|Celtic v Qarabag: Champions League return of utmost importance, says Collins|
|Pellegrini: Jovetic had to go|
|Manquillo completes Marseille move|
|Schalke reject Juve´s Draxler bid|
|Blanc: Di Maria deal ´close´|
|Di Santo debut ends in stalemate|
|Fire sign Drogba, trade him to Montreal Impact|
|FIFA and UEFA welcome ruling on third-party ownership|
|Juve kick off title defence against Udinese|
|Stoke sign free agent Afellay|
|Benitez confident Ramos will stay|
|Fenerbahce issue warning to fans|
|UEFA Champions League Preview: De Boer confident Ajax are ready for Vienna test|
|Bility: I am the favourite for FIFA presidency|
|Pienaar to miss start of season|
|Vietnam 1 Manchester City 8: Sterling shines as tourists run riot|
|All-Star Keane relishing Spurs clash|
|Shaun Wright-Phillips joins brother Bradley at Red Bulls|
|Inter 0 Real Madrid 3: Rodriguez stunner caps comfortable win|
|Villa sign Ayew|
|Watford complete Berghuis transfer|
|Robben returns to Bayern training|
|Pulis anxious to make West Brom additions|
|David Luiz eager to welcome ´fantastic´ Di Maria|
|Fernando injury free ahead of new campaign|
|Hummels blames weight issues for poor season|
|Defoe hoping for early Sunderland goals|
|Depay hints at identity of ´surprise´ United striker|
|Tigres UANL v River Plate: Hosts look to bounce back and make history|
|Crespo set for Villa move|
|Terry: I would never join a Premier League rival|
|Van Gaal coy on United future|
|Romero to cover potential De Gea exit - Van Gaal|
|Uruguay win men´s football gold at Pan Am Games|
|Pirlo thanks New York City fans for ´beautiful´ welcome|
|Mexico capitalised on ´the mistakes we made´ - Schafer|
|Herrera delighted with Mexico display|
|MLS Review: Whitecaps build happy home, Pirlo debuts|
|Guardado wins Golden Ball at Gold Cup|
|NZF confirms Olympics disqualification appeal|
|Jamaica 1 Mexico 3: CONCACAF giants complete form turnaround|
|New York Red Bulls 2 Benfica 1: Another scalp for MLS side|
|Romero signs with United|
|Moghreb Tetouan 1 Al Hilal Omdurman 1: Visitors go top|
|Van Gaal rules out Ronaldo bid|
|Pique open to Barca captaincy|
|Pirlo makes MLS bow in thrilling NYC victory|
|Coutinho and Can return for Liverpool U21s|
|Walcott deal ´closer´, says Wenger|
|Arsenal 1 Wolfsburg 0: Walcott the match-winner in Emirates Cup finale|
|Di Santo links up with Schalke squad|
|Lukaku treble sinks Hearts|
|Benitez again refutes Ronaldo rift rumours|
|Pepe sure Ramos will stay at Real|
|City target De Bruyne named Germany´s Player of the Year|
|Montero spoils McCarthy´s Palace debut|
|Lyon 0 Villarreal 2: Soriano, Baptistao seal comfortable win in Emirates Cup|
|Wijnaldum on target as Newcastle are held|
|Mourinho: Rivals trying to buy the title|
|Jovetic set for Inter medical|
|RFS in ´denial´ over racism issue, claims Football Against Racism in Europe|
|Salah not staying at Chelsea - Mourinho|
|Mbemba closes in on Newcastle switch|
|Ibrahimovic: Di Maria will take PSG to another level|
|Delph: Don´t compare me to Pogba|
|Dundee United sign Sneijder|
|Morata relishing new-look Juve strikeforce|
|Strachan "not scared" of England after World Cup qualifying draw|
|Brazil claim football, basketball, handball gold in Toronto|
|Lampard´s debut delayed again, Pirlo ready to play|
|Mourinho open to Premier League matches in US|
|MLS Review: Texas unites to hurt Galaxy|
|Luis Enrique: United can emulate Barca revival|
|Van Gaal singles out Januzaj, hails United´s forwards|
|Blanc still hopeful PSG will sign Di Maria|
|Irish international Cunningham seeks Bristol City exit|
|Italy embracing Spain challenge in World Cup qualifying|
|Dos Santos brothers in doubt for Gold Cup final|
|PSG 1 Chelsea 1 (aet, 5-6 on penalties): Courtois clinches victory for Mourinho´s men|
|United States 1 Panama 1 (aet, 2-3 on penalties): Mejia denies hosts third|
|ES Setif 1 Al Merreikh 1: Sudanese deny title-holders at home|
|CONCACAF admit referee errors in Gold Cup semi-final|
|Dutch favourites in Group A - Deschamps|
|Barcelona 1 Manchester United 3: Rooney, Lingard and Januzaj maintain winning start|