May 21 – Despite a late run of six wins from their final seven games, Arsenal have failed to reach the Champions League for the first time since manager Arsene Wenger took over a generation ago.
Wenger’s future is expected to be announced after the FA Cup Final against Chelsea next Saturday but there is growing speculation that the Frenchman will sign a new contract in order to have another crack at the Premier League title and go out on a high.
The last time Arsenal finished a league campaign without the lure of Champions League football was 20 years ago and finishing fifth – their worst position since 1996 – means they will take part in the Europa League instead next season.
Despite ending with a 3-1 win over Everton, Arsenal fans vented their fury against American sports tycoon Stan Kroenke who has reportedly rejected a $1.3 billion takeover bid from the club’s second largest shareholder Alisher Usmanov.
“It is annoying but we had a spell during the season that was difficult and it was difficult for me in my personal situation,” said Wenger who has been under constant scrutiny over his future. “We were playing in a hostile environment. The players came back stronger in the past two months and I’m very proud of them for doing that.”
Arsenal’s loss was Liverpool’s gain as they qualified for Europe’s top competition for just the second time since 2009.
Even more galling for Arsenal fans was seeing arch-rivals Tottenham finish higher than the Gunners for the first time in 22 years as Mauricio Pochettino’s side claimed second place in the table with England striker Harry Kane winning the national Golden Boot award with 29 goals for the season.
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