So just how can Arsenal still win the Premier League title?
It seems to be mission impossible, but some at the Emirates are not giving up hope
IT has, most people have agreed, been the strangest of Premier League seasons. And it is not finished yet.
Arsenal’s defeat of Manchester United on Sunday has, to use the favourite footballing phrase, ‘blown the title race wide open’ with just three games to go.
Chelsea had given up the ghost on retaining their title long ago, but are suddenly faced with the prospect of taking top spot on Sunday if they can beat United at Old Trafford.
Chelsea becoming champions would have seemed a fanciful scenario when they trailed United by 15 points at the end of February, and perhaps it is that swing of events that forced Arsene Wenger to admit this week that his side still have a ‘small chance’ to win the title themselves.
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“I still make Manchester United the favourites because when you play at home for the title you see an advantage,” said Wenger.
“But if we want to have a small chance, it’s in our interest that Chelsea win [at Old Trafford] and for us to win our games. After that, we could be back mathematically but I still think Manchester United has an advantage playing at home.”
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Firstly, Arsenal need to win their own last three games, and hope Chelsea win at Old Trafford on Sunday. After that the Gunners would then need both United and Chelsea to lose one of their remaining games, and make up a goal difference that is currently inferior by six.
So, if United then lose at Blackburn and Chelsea are beaten at Everton on the final day, Arsenal would be champions if they have three big wins themselves (say 2-0, 4-0 and 3-1). Now that doesn’t sound that unlikely does it? It has been a funny old season you know...
Striker Robin van Persie refuses to believe that the Gunners have any chance of still winning the title, even if Chelsea keep the race alive by winning at Old Trafford on Sunday.
“In theory we have a chance but a long of things would have to happen to other teams and in my opinion it is too late.
“We had a chance and we didn’t take it,” said the Dutchman who vowed that the players will be going all out to win their final three games of the season, starting at Stoke on Sunday.
“We will play the last three games for honour and for ourselves and we will enjoy them and try to win them all.”
However, Van Persie’s team-mate Jack Wilshere feels that Arsenal still have a slim chance of title success and will keep believing until the final game.
“We’ve made it open again, we’ve done a favour for Chelsea but we are still in it,” said Wilshere. “We have to keep fighting until the end.
“It was a great win against United. We knew we had a couple of bad results and we just wanted to go out there and show what we could do against maybe one of the best teams in Europe. We had a young team out and we showed we could play against the best.
“It has been hard over the last few weeks, but winning on Sunday has got our spirits back up,” added Wilshere, who is targeting nine points from the final three games as a priority.
“If we play like that and fight like that we can beat anyone. We have got three cup finals now, let’s win them and see where we are at the end of the season.”