The battle between Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal for a Champions League place could take a decisive turn on Wednesday night, what are the implications of the possible results at Stamford Bridge?
Chelsea's win at Manchester United has put them in an excellent position ahead of Wednesday's match against Tottenham Hotspur, with a win certain to see them finish in the top four. Here is a run-down of the implications for Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal of the possible results at Stamford Bridge.
A home win will see the Blues four points clear of Arsenal and six points ahead of Spurs with two games left, and given their huge goal difference advantage over Andre Villas-Boas' side, they will be assured a Champions League place for next season. The win at Old Trafford has put a whole new complexion on the match, and Spurs and Arsenal might already consider Chelsea as secure in the top four, leaving them to go head to head over the last couple of games.
If Spurs lose, they will have to beat Stoke and Sunderland in their last two games, whilst also hoping Arsenal either lose one of their games against Wigan and Newcastle, or draw both, as the Gunners' goal difference is far better than Spurs'. A Chelsea win leaves Arsenal needing four points to finish in the top four, and realistically settles the race.
For Spurs, drawing at Stamford Bridge would give them one significant advantage, in that Arsenal would have to win both of their last two games to be sure of finishing above them. Chelsea would still be two points clear in third with a draw, and four points in their last two games against Aston Villa and Everton would likely secure them that third position.
Spurs would almost certainly still have to beat Stoke and Sunderland to finish in the top four, but a draw at Stamford Bridge would pile far more pressure on Arsenal, who would know that any dropped points would put the Champions League place in Spurs hands.
Tottenham Hotspur win
The least likely result is also the one that would blow the race wide open, as it would leave Spurs and Chelsea level on 68 points and ahead of Arsenal on 67. The result would see Chelsea and Spurs needing to win their final two games to guarantee themselves third and fourth respectively.
This is the only result that takes Arsenal's place in the top four out of their hands, and indeed the only one that puts real pressure on Chelsea's place in next year's Champions League.
One final thing worth noting is that Wigan's FA Cup final appearance means that Arsenal could find themselves in fifth by the time they play them next week whatever the result on Wednesday night, as Spurs and Chelsea play this weekend. You would back the Gunners to win that game in hand whatever pressure they are under, but it will give Chelsea and Spurs a chance to test Arsenal's resolve if they can win their tricky away games at Stoke and Aston Villa.
image: © El Ronzo