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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

Arsenal go out with heads held high and all guns blazing

Arsenal 3 AC Milan 0

Koscielny 7, Rosicky 26, van Persie 43 pen

Insert your own cliche about heroic failure or honour in defeat. Arsenal lost this Champions League tie in the first leg, but nearly pulled off the ultimate Houdini act with three first-half goals which had Milan rocking unsteadily before finally squeaking through on a night when Arsene Wenger‘s side showed spirit and desire and no small amount of quality, and left their fans glowing with pride at having nearly pulled off the impossible.

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The week in numbers: w/e 4/3/12

McIlroy displaced Luke Donald as world number one (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

22 – Age of Rory McIlroy, who yesterday became world number one at 22 years and 10 months after winning the Honda Classic at Palm Beach. Only Tiger Woods, who was joint-second, two shots behind, has climbed to the top of golf’s rankings at a younger age.

72Roger Federer defeated Andy Murray 7-5 6-4 in the final of the Dubai Championship to win his 72nd career title. Murray had beaten world number one Novak Djokovic to reach the final.

50Wladimir Klitschko recorded his 50th professional knockout as he successfully defended his WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight title belts with a fourth-round win over Frenchman Jean-Marc Mormeck.

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Robin’s daylight robbery steals vital win for Arsenal

Liverpool 1 Arsenal 2

Koscielny og 23, van Persie 31, 90+2

For the third Premier League game in a row Arsenal dug themselves into a hole and promptly climbed straight back out again as they came from behind to win in a remarkable finish at Anfield. The balance of possession and territory was as lop-sided as a corner count of 12-0 would suggest, and yet two clinical finishes by the incomparable Robin van Persie – his 30th and 31st goals of the season – put Arsenal back on level terms and then snatched victory in injury time. With Chelsea’s defeat at West Brom, the win puts Arsenal in pole position for a top-four finish.

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