Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1

Could this have been the first in a series of a turnaround events in Arsene Wenger’s quest at a genuine title challenge ? Having secured Champions League football for a sixteenth consecutive season, Arsenal will spend up to £70 million in the transfer market to finally land what has been lacking in the Gunners’ armoury in recent years. Laurent Koscielny may not have been everyone’s favourite when he arrived in England in July 2010 for £9.7 million, but his unlikely winner in the vital 1-0 victory over Newcastle United on the last day of the Premiership season will be seen as priceless in the eyes of his now adoring fans. The victory was all the sweeter after the Gunners’ win blew away any last hopes Spurs may have had on Champions League football next season. Arsenal continue their record of never having finished behind their north London rivals for 18 years.

In what may be seen as an unprecedented sequence of Premiership events in his time in North London, Wenger has maintained that he has the personal to compete, whereas others have pointed to a lack of quality signings as the main reason as to why Arsenal inability to lift silverware since 2005. With the Emirates Stadium’ debts almost paid off, Wenger alluded to the finances at his disposal as early as the 0-0 away at Southampton over the festive season. We shall see if the marquee signings the fans demand are convinced of the Gunners’ potential with Champions League football now secured.

“They continued to believe when we were seven points behind Tottenham in March. We had no room for error and you could never see any sign of the players giving in,” said Wenger.

“We had some big lows with Bradford, with Blackburn, with Bayern at home, and never could you see the players dismantle or that the group was not united – and that’s not easy in the modern game.

“Since the first of February we have taken more points than anybody else in the Premier League and I don’t believe that’s just a coincidence but the fact that the team has grown through the season,” continued the Arsenal manager after concluding a ten game end of season unbeaten run. Wenger will demand that winning momentum be carried over into next season.

Koscielny was the Gunners’ hero seven minutes after the break. Theo Walcott’s free-kick was headed on by Lukas Podolski, and his France team mate struck with acrobatic fashion to send the large Arsenal travelling contingent wild in celebration. ” Are you watching Tottenham?” they taunted their bitter rivals. The glum faces at White Hart Lane suggested they were, and even Gareth Bale’s late winner over Sunderland was unable to lift the of a side who promised to deliver. Andre Villas-Boas had quizzed why the Europa League was viewed as a “punishment,” in England. Perhaps he will now know after more Thursday nights on Channel Five follow.

Having secured their own Premiership survival at relegated Queens Park Rangers last week end, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew joked that he didn’t care if Arsenal won 4-0 at St. James Park. Having clarified that the joke was more of a relief than a Gunners’ fait accompli, Papis Cisse and Yoan Gouffran threatened to ruin the Arsenal Champions League party. Mikel Arteta was a surprising start, but lasted only half an hour after the effects on an injured calf got the better of the Gunners’ number 8. Alex Oxlade-Chambelrain was then tasked with more of a central role, and although he drifted out wide, the defensive duties of his game would always be a challenge against a lively Hatem Ben Arfa.

Pity poor Harry Redknapp? No? Thought not! The former Spurs manager having been shown the door at White Hart Lane, publicly claimed on Match of the Day, that his former club would secure Champions’ League football, and that, and that it would be Wenger’s greatest task to get that Arsenal side to finish in the top four. Having gotten big spending Rangers’ relegated, Redknapp conceded that Arsenal’s late unbeaten run was to prove to be critical in the Gunners’ fortunes.

Wenger just smiled that knowing smile of satisfaction.

“Qualification means it is easier to bring in players when we have a chance to be in the Champions League. In the last three months, we have been remarkably consistent,” he said, describing his squad as ” “exceptional.”

The trick for Wenger is now to bring in those needed additional exceptional players – a goal keeper, a holding midfielder and a proven goal scorer – in the summer to mount a genuine challenge on both top domestic and European titles.