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Arsenal do it the hard way to secure Champions League football

West Brom 2 Arsenal 3

Long 11, Dorrans 15; Benayoun 4, Santos 30, Koscielny 54

Throughout their history, Arsenal have had a habit of doing things the hard way. The 1979 FA Cup final, where they let a 2-0 lead slip in the final five minutes only to snatch victory back at the death. The 1989 league decider at Anfield, which culminated in Michael Thomas’ last-gasp title-winner. Even the final game of the 2003/04 Invincibles season, where they had to come from behind at home to Leicester on the final day. This afternoon’s game at the Hawthorns fell into the same category, as Arsenal contrived to take the lead and fall behind in the first 15 minutes, and needed two crucial interventions in the dying moments to preserve a 3-2 win which secured third place and guaranteed automatic entry into the Champions League group phase next season.
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Arsenal draw creates three-horse race for third

Arsenal 0 Chelsea 0

A goalless draw did little to aid the Champions League aspirations of either club, but a heavily rotated Chelsea will be much the happier after a dogged performance ahead of their critical semi-final second leg in Barcelona on Tuesday. Meanwhile Arsenal created little and squandered the handful of opportunities which did come their way, and are showing signs of fragility, fatigue and faltering momentum just when they need it most.

Just one point from two home games in the past six days has opened the door for Tottenham and Newcastle in the battle for third place. Both kick off later this afternoon six points behind but with two games in hand. Read more of this post

Wonderful Wigan stun awful Arsenal

Arsenal 1 Wigan 2

Vermaelen 21; Di Santo 7, Gomez 8

Wigan proved that last week’s win over Manchester United was no one-hit wonder as they punched two holes in Arsenal‘s fragile defence in the space of a minute and deservedly held on to record a crucial win which lifts them five points clear of the relegation zone. Defeat left Arsenal five points clear of both Spurs and Newcastle, but having now played a game more, as they missed a golden opportunity to tighten their stranglehold on the third automatic Champions League spot.

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Ruthless Arsenal throw Wolves to the, er, wolves

Wolves 0 Arsenal 3

Bassong sent off 8; van Persie 9 pen, Walcott 11, Benayoun 69

Arsenal knocked ten-man Wolves to the canvas twice in the opening minutes at Molineux and did not allow them to land a meaningful punch before finally administering the knockout blow midway through the second half. Goals by Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott and Yossi Benayoun made this as easy a victory as Arsenal have enjoyed all season, moving them five points clear of third-placed Tottenham. Meanwhile Wolves are nine points adrift of safety with only 15 still available. Terry Connor‘s side are now all but mathematically relegated.

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Arteta’s bullet shoots down City’s title hopes

Arsenal 1 Manchester City 0

Arteta 87; Balotelli sent off 90

Arsenal left it late to clinch a game they had dominated throughout, but Mikel Arteta‘s late bullet strike effectively killed off Manchester City‘s title hopes, while giving his own side three crucial points to propel them back into third place. City were lacklustre and rarely threatened as they slipped eight points behind leaders Manchester United with just six games remaining. Meanwhile Arsenal reasserted their position as four teams – Spurs, Chelsea and Newcastle being the others – battle it out for the last two Champions League spots.

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