By Josh Powell | Betting news
Piers Morgan calling for Arsene Wenger’s head. Tottenham stretching clear before ultimately crumbling quicker than a rich tea biscuit in a hot brew. Arsenal sweeping in, claiming fourth with some solid performances and celebrating like it was an actual trophy. Just another season in the Premier League then.
Arsenal finished a point clear of their North-London rivals to guarantee Champions League football next year, but at what point of their topsy-turvy season did you back them to finish in the top four?
August 17 2012: 8/15
The day before the Premier League season begins. Optimism around the Emirates is sky-high as Wenger splashes more than £31 million on Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud to fill the void left by a certain Robin van Persie.
September 24 2012: 2/5
Five games into the season and Arsene Wenger’s men are unbeaten. They’ve beaten Liverpool away and drawn with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. They also spanked six past Southampton at home. Robin who?
December 16 2012: Evens
The next 11 games are a mixture of highs and lows, mostly devastatingly crushing lows. One high is a 5-2 win over Tottenham in November but other than that it is bleak. Losses to Norwich and Swansea and draws with Aston Villa and Fulham leave them in eight, five points behind Spurs in fourth. Van Persie’s goal in United’s 2-1 win at the Emirates adds salt to the wounds and defeat to Bradford in the Carling Cup is the footballing version of kicking a man when he’s down. Right in the groin. #WengerOut
December 30 2012: 4/6
Christmas is kind as Arsenal end the year with four wins on the spin including a 5-2 thumping of Reading and a 7-3 annihilation of Newcastle. They end 2012 in fifth, three points behind Spurs but with a game in hand.
January 21 2013: 6/4
Disaster start to 2013! Defeats to Chelsea and Man City along with a 1-1 draw against Southampton put the Gunners seven points behind fourth-placed Tottenham and level on points with Liverpool and West Brom.
February 25 2013: 8/13
Arsenal go unbeaten in the next five, dropping just two points as they fly back up the league. With the game against Tottenham at White Hart Lane approaching the Gunners go two points behind Chelsea in fourth and three behind Spurs. It is squeaky bum-time in North London.
March 3 2013: 7/4
Comical defending gives Tottenham a 2-1 win and Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen couldn’t have made it much easier. Their inability to work the offside trap was reminiscent of a pub game and Arsenal go five behind Chelsea and seven behind Spurs.
April 14 2013: 2/7
All change! Arsenal win four on the spin after the defeat while Tottenham perform their annual collapse and the Chelsea players pay too much attention to avoiding questions about Rafa Benitez instead of beating Southampton. The Gunners leap to third, a point clear of Spurs and Chelsea.
April 29 2013: 1/4
Arsene Wenger’s men show some grit that many thought they didn’t have by grinding out draws against Everton and newly crowned Champions United either side of beating Fulham in a scrappy 1-0. Robin van Persie scores again to annoy the Emirates faithful but they are two points clear of Spurs in fourth with a relatively straight-forward run-in.
May 19 2013: 1/3
Going in to the last game and Arsenal lead by a point. There is still plenty to play for as Arsenal have to travel to Newcastle while Tottenham face Sunderland at home. Despite the odds Andy Gray goes against the grain and backs Tottenham to get fourth. Classic Andy.
May 19 2013 5.20pm: 1/6
There is half an hour left in both games and Arsenal look home and hosed. Laurent Koscielny put the Gunners in front in the 52nd minute and Tottenham are still struggling to break down the Black Cats.
May 19 2013 5.40: 1/12
Pretty much done and dusted. It is Champions League football for Arsene Wenger next season and another year beneath their North London rivals for Tottenham. Gareth Bale’s wonder strike (is it still a wonder strike when he does it every week?) gives Tottenham fans the smallest glimmer of hope but it is Thursday nights on ITV4 for them.