Arsenal sealed their 16th consecutive Champions League qualification as a rare goal from Laurent Koscielny earned them a lucrative victory over Newcastle.

The French defender latched on to Lukas Podolski's header following Theo Walcott's free-kick to score his most important Arsenal goal as they pipped Tottenham to fourth spot in the Premier League and the final place in Europe's elite competition.

The Gunners finished a point ahead of Andre Villas-Boas's Spurs, who scored late on to beat Sunderland but needed to better their rivals' result.

Wenger relieved to finish fourth

It could have been more comfortable for Arsenal as Walcott hit the post in stoppage time against a Newcastle side desperate to improve after recent home defeats to Sunderland and Liverpool.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and his team saluted their joyous supporters, who sung "are you watching, Tottenham?" with added fervour.

Reaching the Champions League ahead of Spurs completed a superb turnaround after they trailed by seven points at the beginning of March. Arsenal have now finished above Spurs 18 seasons in a row.

And the late-season form of Wenger's side, who have won eight of their last 10 Premier League games, will also go a long way to appeasing fans who had doubts about the Frenchman earlier in the season.

Arsenal have not won a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup but reaching the top four again at least means the Gunners can attract new talent in the summer with funds due to be released for players.

The win was as hard-fought as the scoreline suggested, with Newcastle probing in the first half and the visitors enduring a nervous final few minutes as news filtered through of Gareth Bale's late goal at White Hart Lane.

Despite another home defeat, the Magpies finished 16th having secured their Premier League safety against QPR last weekend, and their season finished on a relative high note as the supporters saluted 38-year-old goalkeeper Steve Harper, who played his last game for the club after a 20-year career on Tyneside.

After finishing fifth last time round, this has been a frustrating season for Alan Pardew's side but he will aim to address his squad this summer.

Koscielny the final day hero

  • On the final day of last season, Laurent Koscielny scored Arsenal's winner against West Brom to secure Champions League football for Arsenal.
  • Arsenal have won five successive Premier League away games for the first time since September 2004

He would been heartened by his side's first-half display, in which Papiss Cisse was a whisker away from giving the hosts an early lead but fired over following Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa's cutback.

Santi Cazorla and Walcott were both off target as the visitors struggled to impose themselves and they were not helped when Mikel Arteta, who passed a fitness test on an injured calf before the game, was substituted before the half-hour.

His replacement, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, slotted into the deep midfield role despite usually appearing on the wing, but struggled to contain Hatem Ben Arfa.

Pardew's side were in the ascendancy as the home supporters saluted Harper in the 37th minute to correspond with his squad number, the keeper unable to control his emotions amid the deafening cheers.

Harper's day almost took a turn for the worse shortly after the break, however, when his poor kick fell to Walcott, but he made amends with a fine stop.

He could do little about Koscielny's goal, however, when Podolski got on the end of Walcott's free-kick from the right and the defender swivelled to fire home from close range.

Pardew sure Newcastle will improve

The goal sent Arsenal fans - aware that Spurs were being held - into raptures but only a good block from Per Mertesacker prevented the energetic Yoan Gouffran scoring an equaliser.

The remainder of the second half was played out in muted fashion, although it livened up when news of Gareth Bale's goal filtered through.

The Arsenal bench crept onto the pitch in anticipation of Walcott's late effort going in, but they only had to wait for four minutes of stoppage time to end before they could finally celebrate.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew: "We were under-strength to enter two competitions as we did. The Europa League on the Thursday night takes away a lot of legs for the Sunday.

"We've got very good young players. I think 80% of that team next year will do very well for us but they do need a lift, a bit of experience, a bit of quality.

"We have got some great players here. It's key for us next year to keep everybody fit."

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (6)

Newcastle

  • 37 Harper
  • 02 Coloccini
  • 13 Yanga-M'Biwa (Campbell - 80' )
  • 26 Debuchy
  • 27 S Taylor
  • 04 Cabaye (Anita - 57' )
  • 10 Ben Arfa
  • 18 Gutierrez Booked
  • 24 Tiote
  • 09 Cisse
  • 11 Gouffran (Marveaux - 64' )

Substitutes

  • 42 Alnwick
  • 05 Simpson
  • 14 Perch
  • 08 Anita
  • 22 Marveaux
  • 25 Obertan
  • 49 Campbell

Arsenal

  • 01 Szczesny
  • 03 Sagna
  • 04 Mertesacker
  • 06 Koscielny
  • 28 Gibbs Booked
  • 07 Rosicky Booked
  • 08 Arteta (Oxlade-Chamberlain - 28' )
  • 14 Walcott
  • 16 Ramsey
  • 19 Cazorla (Wilshere - 88' )
  • 09 Podolski (Giroud - 77' )

Substitutes

  • 21 Fabianski
  • 05 Vermaelen
  • 17 Monreal
  • 10 Wilshere
  • 15 Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 12 Giroud
  • 27 Gervinho
Ref: H Webb
Att: 52,354

Match Stats

Shots

7 9

On target

2 3

Corners

4 4

Fouls

17 10

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +4:33 Full time

Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.

90:00 +3:48

Centre by Olivier Giroud, save by Steve Harper. Corner taken short by Aaron Ramsey.

90:00 +2:33

The offside flag is raised against Papiss Cisse. Wojciech Szczesny restarts play with the free kick.

90:00 +2:19

Unfair challenge on Jonas Gutierrez by Jack Wilshere results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Jonas Gutierrez.

90:00 +1:16

Foul by Laurent Koscielny on Vurnon Anita, free kick awarded. Steve Harper takes the direct free kick.

90:00 +0:51

Theo Walcott produces a right-footed shot from just inside the penalty box and hits the post.

89:14

Mathieu Debuchy gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kieran Gibbs. Aaron Ramsey takes the free kick.

87:51 Substitution

Substitution (Arsenal) makes a substitution, with Jack Wilshere coming on for Santi Cazorla.

83:29

Jonas Gutierrez gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Theo Walcott. Bacary Sagna restarts play with the free kick.

81:42

Corner taken right-footed by Theo Walcott, Effort from the edge of the area by Santi Cazorla goes wide of the right-hand post.

80:43

Direct free kick taken by Hatem Ben Arfa.

80:43 Booking

Booking Kieran Gibbs is cautioned by the ref for dissent.

80:33

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Steven Taylor by Kieran Gibbs.

79:46 Substitution

Substitution Adam Campbell on for Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.

77:48

Corner from right by-line taken by Hatem Ben Arfa.

76:40 Substitution

Substitution Olivier Giroud on for Lukas Podolski.

76:30

Mathieu Debuchy crosses the ball, clearance by Laurent Koscielny.

72:22

A cross is delivered by Aaron Ramsey. The offside flag is raised against Theo Walcott. Steve Harper takes the free kick.

70:57

Hatem Ben Arfa has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide left of the goal.

69:38

Aaron Ramsey challenges Vurnon Anita unfairly and gives away a free kick. Vurnon Anita restarts play with the free kick. The referee penalises Vurnon Anita for handball. Free kick taken by Laurent Koscielny.

68:54

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has an effort at goal from outside the area missing to the wide right of the goal.

67:24

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa concedes a free kick for a foul on Santi Cazorla. Strike comes in from Lukas Podolski from the free kick, blocked by Cheick Tiote.

66:03

Lukas Podolski challenges Cheick Tiote unfairly and gives away a free kick. Steve Harper takes the free kick.

63:43

Wojciech Szczesny takes the free kick.

63:43 Substitution

Substitution Yoan Gouffran leaves the field to be replaced by Sylvain Marveaux.

63:43

Centre by Mathieu Debuchy, free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Laurent Koscielny by Yoan Gouffran.

63:19

Santi Cazorla concedes a free kick for a foul on Hatem Ben Arfa. Hatem Ben Arfa restarts play with the free kick.

61:28

The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.

59:53

Mathieu Debuchy crosses the ball, clearance by Bacary Sagna.

57:46

Papiss Cisse takes a shot. Blocked by Laurent Koscielny.

56:25 Substitution

Substitution Vurnon Anita comes on in place of Yohan Cabaye.

51:37

Assist on the goal came from Lukas Podolski.

51:37 Goal scored

Goal! - Laurent Koscielny - Newcastle 0 - 1 Arsenal A goal is scored by Laurent Koscielny from close in high into the middle of the goal. Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal.

50:41

Yohan Cabaye gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Bacary Sagna. A cross is delivered by Theo Walcott,

50:16

Aaron Ramsey crosses the ball, Steven Taylor manages to make a clearance.

45:23

Theo Walcott takes a shot. Fantastic save by Steve Harper.

45:01

The referee gets the second half started.

45:00 +2:02 Half time

Half Time The match has reached half-time.

45:00 +0:54

Papiss Cisse concedes a free kick for a foul on Aaron Ramsey. Direct free kick taken by Kieran Gibbs.

44:06

Free kick awarded for a foul by Cheick Tiote on Aaron Ramsey. Free kick crossed right-footed by Theo Walcott from right channel, Mathieu Debuchy manages to make a clearance.

42:27

The ball is swung over by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, clearance by Mathieu Debuchy.

41:22

A cross is delivered by Theo Walcott, Corner taken right-footed by Santi Cazorla from the left by-line, save made by Steve Harper.

41:07

Cheick Tiote concedes a free kick for a foul on Tomas Rosicky. Tomas Rosicky takes the free kick.

38:48

Hatem Ben Arfa fouled by Tomas Rosicky, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Fabricio Coloccini. The offside flag is raised against Lukas Podolski. Steve Harper takes the direct free kick. Effort from the edge of the box by Hatem Ben Arfa goes wide of the right-hand upright.

38:17 Booking

Booking Tomas Rosicky receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

37:32

Foul by Aaron Ramsey on Hatem Ben Arfa, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Steve Harper.

36:55

Effort from 30 yards by Yohan Cabaye. Save by Wojciech Szczesny.

34:48

Yohan Cabaye concedes a free kick for a foul on Lukas Podolski. Free kick taken by Santi Cazorla.

33:42

Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Yohan Cabaye, Bacary Sagna makes a clearance.

31:37

Lukas Podolski challenges Mathieu Debuchy unfairly and gives away a free kick. Mathieu Debuchy takes the free kick.

30:36

Shot from just outside the box by Santi Cazorla misses to the right of the target.

28:19

Jonas Gutierrez produces a cross, clearance by Per Mertesacker.

27:10 Substitution

Substitution Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joins the action as a substitute, replacing Mikel Arteta.

26:10

Corner taken by Yohan Cabaye from the left by-line to the near post, Lukas Podolski manages to make a clearance.

25:29

The ball is sent over by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, clearance by Per Mertesacker.

23:49

Free kick awarded for a foul by Mathieu Debuchy on Lukas Podolski. Free kick crossed right-footed by Theo Walcott, Per Mertesacker manages to make a clearance.

21:48

Direct free kick taken by Mikel Arteta.

21:48 Booking

Booking Jonas Gutierrez goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.

21:42

Jonas Gutierrez challenges Theo Walcott unfairly and gives away a free kick.

21:06

Corner taken by Yohan Cabaye, Per Mertesacker manages to make a clearance.

19:54

The ball is delivered by Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker manages to make a clearance.

17:12

Bacary Sagna challenges Jonas Gutierrez unfairly and gives away a free kick. Yohan Cabaye crosses the ball in from the free kick, clearance made by Kieran Gibbs. Steven Taylor concedes a free kick for a foul on Kieran Gibbs. Free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.

16:28

Jonas Gutierrez takes a shot. Blocked by Per Mertesacker.

16:03

Centre by Kieran Gibbs, clearance made by Steven Taylor.

13:08

Effort from the edge of the box by Yoan Gouffran goes wide of the right-hand upright.

12:26

Yoan Gouffran sends in a cross, free kick awarded for a foul by Papiss Cisse on Per Mertesacker. Wojciech Szczesny takes the direct free kick.

10:54

Corner taken by Santi Cazorla from the left by-line played to the near post, Header from close range by Laurent Koscielny misses to the right of the goal.

9:56

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Theo Walcott. Mikel Arteta restarts play with the free kick.

8:53

The ball is sent over by Bacary Sagna.

7:52

Centre by Mathieu Debuchy, clearance made by Kieran Gibbs.

6:48

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa crosses the ball, Papiss Cisse produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the goal.

5:23

Theo Walcott takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the bar.

4:28

Cheick Tiote concedes a free kick for a foul on Tomas Rosicky. Santi Cazorla delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from left wing, Fabricio Coloccini makes a clearance.

3:23

Free kick awarded for a foul by Papiss Cisse on Kieran Gibbs. Free kick taken by Laurent Koscielny.

2:02

Santi Cazorla fouled by Papiss Cisse, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Mikel Arteta.

0:00

The match has kicked off.

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