May 14, 2013, 8:50 PM EDT
It’s over for Wigan Athletic, who had everything to play for over the last 180 minutes, but somewhat sadly have absolutely nothing at stake now. Due to events in North London on Tuesday, Sunday’s EPL finale (at home against Aston Villa and U.S. international Brad Buzan) will be a lot more “finale” than the Latics had in mind.
But for Arsenal the work is anything but done on the late-season drive for trophies – and remember, according to manager Arsene Wenger, Champions League qualification is a “trophy.” Ahem … we’ll just move on.
Wenger and his club has a short turn to prepare for a trip to Newcastle, where manager Alan Pardew and his club will be well rested. The Magpies won’t have much to play for, solidly settled into the lower-mid pack and already studying on how to improve for next year. But it would be nice for fans around St. James Park to drop some real pain on the glamour club from London, wouldn’t it?
Wenger, still basking in the afterglow of Tuesday’s showpiece win over Wigan, is confident that his club can get the result needed.
I am confident because we have experience. We play for a long time under massive pressure and we have always found the solutions with the problems that we have faced…. It’s a big hurdle, but we’re up for it, we can only give our best, we want to be focused.
It is all open, but it depends on our result. Even third place is not out of sight of we win the game.
There’s a chance that a tie would be enough, and even a loss does not automatically doom the Gunners, who need to hold their spot at fourth to get into the world’s richest and most prestigious club tournament. Because elsewhere in the 38th and final round of the long English Premier League season, Tottenham has to do its part at White Hart Lane against Sunderland in order to keep a little pressure on Wenger’s club.
But no matter what Clint Dempsey and Spurs do in London – Don’t forget, all matches on final day kick off simultaneously, and ain’t that always a hoot! – a win puts Arsenal right back into Champions League.
By the way, this isn’t just a pride thing, or something to put on a resume, although that 15-year streak of Champions League qualification is something to be proud of (and to hold over the head of their nearly, bitter rival Spurs).
It’s also about cold, hard cash. Just getting to the Champions League group stage nets a club over $10 million dollars, and the money improves from there with each step toward ultimate glory.
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