Arsene Wenger has guaranteed Champions League football for Arsenal for every full season that he has been in charge. Arsenal?s prospects of extending their remarkable run of seventeen consecutive appearances in the Europe?s top club competition took a dent on Saturday when they were beaten 2-1 by North London rivals Tottenham.
An early goal from Mesut Ozil seemed to have set the Gunners on the way to an important victory but Harry Kane struck twice in the second half to stun Wenger?s team. The result lifted Spurs above Arsenal into fifth place, behind Manchester United on goal difference and two points adrift of Southampton.
Liverpool missed the chance to close in on a top four spot when held to a goalless draw in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park. The game had been billed as the final derby game for Steven Gerrard who celebrated his 700th appearance for the Reds in the midweek FA Cup victory over Bolton. The match proved something of a disappointment with neither side able to break the deadlock. Brendan Rodgers was unable to guide Liverpool beyond the group stages of the Champions League this season and they now join the Europa League alongside Tottenham.
Southampton have clung on to their top four spot bravely in recent weeks, securing victories over Arsenal and Manchester United in the process. Ronald Koeman?s side are in third place after a late winner at struggling QPR took them to within four points of Manchester City. It was a bad weekend for City who were saved from the embarrassment of a home defeat to relegation-threatened Hull by an injury-time free-kick from James Milner.
City now trail Chelsea by seven points after the Blues finally secured a first victory at Villa Park for Jose Mourinho. Goals by Eden Hazard and Branislav Ivanovic were enough to seal the points despite Villa scoring their first goal in almost eleven hours of football. Mourinho has been terse with the media since the suspension of leading striker Diego Costa and his body language made it clear that he felt this was a vital win for the Blues.
There could be further twists and turns in the Premiership in midweek with games scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Arsenal will look to bounce back from their defeat with a home win against Leicester while Spurs travel to Anfield to face Liverpool on Tuesday night. Chelsea are at home to Everton on Wednesday with champions City away at Stoke. Southampton clash with West Ham at St Mary?s while Manchester United will be expected to take maximum points at home to Burnley.