Per Mertesacker has admitted that Arsenal don't deserve to end up in the top three in the Premier League this season because they lost to their title rivals.
The Gunners took a significant step towards securing a top-four finish with a 3-0 win over Newcastle at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night.
A Manchester City defeat of Everton on Saturday or a win over West Brom on Sunday will secure Arsene Wenger's side a place in the Champions League next season.
It will be the 17th consecutive season Arsenal have qualified to play in Europe's elite competition.
However Mertesacker, who played his 50th game in all competitions for the north Londoners on Monday night, cannot help but reflect on what might have been.
"We have struggled heavily with a couple of injuries, but we have regrouped very well and how we managed the situation was maybe more important than last year, so securing Champions League football was another test for us.
"It is not done yet, Everton play Manchester City on Saturday, but we have it in our own hands.
"However, everyone wanted us to get further up, especially the fans, and we were top of the table for a long time.
"Everyone dreamed about the title, but it takes more than staying top until the winter period.
"We could not afford those (losses) in big games against big teams, so we did not deserve to be in the first three. That is something we have to manage much better next year.
"The (defeats in the) early away games (at Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea) killed us this year. Hopefully we can learn from that.
"Everyone questioned our qualities, but how we came back as a team, that makes us stronger for the future."He added:
"We are in a cup final and it is important to secure Champions League football, so these are good targets to go for.
"We are happy to have a lot of players back. The squad is getting stronger and stronger."