Newcastle vs. Arsenal: What Season's Final Match Meant for Both Clubs

Matthew CelentanoFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 2013

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - MAY 19:  Wojciech Szczesny of Arsenal celebrates after team-mate Laurent Koscielny scored the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Arsenal at St James' Park on May 19, 2013 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

On a "Super Sunday" in which the title race was done and dusted weeks ago and the relegation dogfight had already been sealed, the only drama was the competition for fourth place between Arsenal and Spurs.

Ironically, the two games played by the North London clubs were the least exciting. Arsenal snatched a 1-0 win at Newcastle through a scrappy second-half Laurent Koscielny goal, while Spurs beat Sunderland 1-0 courtesy of yet another Gareth Bale wonderstrike.

Well, that was that. Both teams won the games that they were expected to win, Arsenal finished in fourth place a point above Tottenham, and the only real drama on the day was this hilarious moment where Spurs fans thought Newcastle had equalized against Arsenal.

Here's what Newcastle vs. Arsenal meant for the two clubs today, starting with the home side.


What it meant for Newcastle


Newcastle United made sure that an extremely disappointing season didn't end in total disaster by securing their Premier League status last weekend with a 2-1 win over Queens Park Rangers.

That win meant the Magpies went into the last day of the season with pretty much nothing to play for, and Alan Pardew said himself that he didn't care if his side lost 4-0 (via Metro), before eventually stating (via BBC) that the comments were a "joke."

In reality, Newcastle's 1-0 loss to Arsenal was meaningless. The tumultuous season meant that the team's objective had essentially become avoiding relegation, and with Newcastle already confirming their safety there wasn't much of an incentive besides giving the home fans something to cheer about on the final day.

That being said, full credit must be given to the Newcastle side that played against Arsenal. Despite having little motivation, they went out there with a spirited performance and their sturdiness at the back really frustrated the Gunners—if only they had defended like that all season.


What it meant for Arsenal


Where do you even begin?

Assuming Spurs would do the business against Sunderland (which they did), Arsenal needed all three points against Newcastle to wrap up fourth place and the coveted Champions League football that comes with it.

In all honestly, it was a relatively poor performance from the Gunners who once again showed that they are capable of grinding out results with 1-0 wins. It was all too fitting that Laurent Koscielny was the goalscorer, as the Frenchman has been an integral part of Arsenal's rock solid defense in recent weeks.

Firstly, the win means that Arsenal will now play in the Champions League for a 16th consecutive season, which is arguably Arsene Wenger's greatest ever achievement after the Invincibles season. Champions League football has been Arsenal's saving grace during the last seven trophyless years, as it confirms the Gunners' status as a top class team despite the lack of silverware.

Speaking of silverware, a top-four finish gives Arsenal a steady platform which they can build upon this summer in order to mount a serious challenge for the Premier League title next season. It's much easier to attract players to a club with Champions League football, something that gives Arsene Wenger an edge when competing with other European giants for top class players.

It doesn't look like there'll be any key players leaving this summer, so provided Wenger spends his money right, Arsenal will be in a very strong position to end their trophy drought next season.

Perhaps the most glorious implication of all about Arsenal's win over Newcastle is the confirmation that the Gunners have finished above bitter rivals Spurs for an 18th consecutive season, hushing talks of a power shift in North London. It says a lot that Arsenal's worst season in recent memory saw them finish above a Spurs side that recorded their best ever points tally. Simply put, a lot more is needed for a power shift than just one fixture.

All in all, Arsenal can enjoy yet another season in the top four and bragging rights for now, but they've got a big summer ahead of them which will include some important transfer market business, as well as a pesky Champions League qualifier that comes with fourth place.