By Joe Brewin

Wojciech Szczesny believes Arsenal’s third-place finish defied most people’s expectations after their disappointing start to the season.

Arsène Wenger’s side will be playing Champions League football next season after tying up automatic qualification with a 3-2 win at West Brom on Sunday.

Arsenal lost four of their first seven matches in the Premier League and Szczesny says those circumstances ultimately make this campaign a success.

“It is massive,” he told Arsenal Player. “I said before that I don't think people believed we could finish third. Although I wouldn't have taken it before the season, given the circumstance and the start of the season I think we will take it and we are very pleased.

“You want to win trophies. Yes we are happy we managed to finish third but when you play for this club you want to win trophies and we didn't do it this year so it is disappointing.

“But we already have one signing coming in and hopefully with one or a couple more we can challenge for a trophy next season.”

Kieran Gibbs’ saving challenge in injury time secured Arsenal the three points they needed to qualify and Szczesny was delighted by the substitute’s key intervention.

“I had it covered to be honest!” joked the goalkeeper. “It was an amazing challenge, one of the moments that wins you games.

“He did very well when he came on and obviously we tried to be more defensive in the second half once we scored that third goal. For the last 20 minutes we defended really well but I think that one challenge finished the game. You have to give big credit to Kieran for that.”

Watch the full interview with Wojciech on Arsenal Player now. 

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 15 May 2012