It is a sign of Arsenal’s topsy-turvy season that they celebrated finishing fourth in the Premier League as if they had won a trophy.
The harsh truth is however, that Arsenal must still negotiate a qualifying round to get into next season’s Uefa Champions League, and even more uncomfortable: their lengthy trophy drought continues.
However, those two realities did not diminish Arsenal’s joy on Sunday, as they squeaked into fourth place at the cost of their hated London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur.
A rare goal by Laurent Koscielny secured the Gunners’ ticket into Europe, and left manager Arsene Wenger gushing about his team’s “character.”
"I'm proud of the character and spirit after all we have had to deal with through this season. They are special, they have showed it in the last two months. They have been absolutely exceptional,” Wenger said.
"I'm happy because the exceptional attitude and determination of this group of players has been rewarded, they continued to believe when we were seven points behind Tottenham in mid-March. You could never see a sign of giving in.
"I have had many groups in my life and this is one, on that front, that has been absolutely outstanding, showing a combination of quality and attitude. I have always admired the way they have behaved and their focus every day training."
Wenger has promised that Arsenal will make “squad additions” to augment their challenge next season.
But he has also warned that their partying will be premature if they do not ensure their progression into the Champions League group stage, with all the benefits it entails.
"It [qualification] means that we are able to play with the top teams in Europe, it means it's easier to bring in players," Wenger said.
"Let's not forget that we are not in yet, we have to qualify and that is always a tricky round, but at least we have a chance."