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Champions League Qualifying Play-Offs Round

Premier play-off a possibility

Arsenal's heavy defeat of Wigan on Tuesday night has opened up the possibility of a play-off for third place in the Premier League.

Last Updated: 16/05/13 at 14:55 Post Comment

Chelsea and Arsenal: London rivals could meet in Premier League play-off

Chelsea and Arsenal: London rivals could meet in Premier League play-off

The 4-1 win over the FA Cup winners moved the Gunners back into fourth place, ahead of fierce rivals Spurs, and it means a win at Newcastle on the final day of the season will guarantee them UEFA Champions League football.

It also meant they closed the gap on third-placed Chelsea to two points and left the chance that a not inconceivable set of results on Sunday would see them end the season level on points, goal difference and goals scored.

Under Premier League rules, if qualification for a competition cannot be determined by any of those criteria, the sides involved must play one another at a neutral venue either once or twice.

Third place in the Premier League gains automatic qualification for the Champions League group stage with the team finishing fourth going into the play-off round.

Going into the final set of games, which Chelsea host Everton, the Blues are two points ahead, have a goal difference advantage of one over their London rivals and have scored two more goals.

But that would only mean a combination of a 0-0 draw for Chelsea and a 2-1 win for Arsenal putting them level on all three criteria, the same applying for a 1-1 Chelsea draw and a 3-2 Arsenal win, and so on.

As well as the possible battle for third place, Tottenham are waiting in the wings for Arsenal to slip up on the final day, when a Gunners defeat and Spurs victory at home to Sunderland would see them steal fourth and leave Arsenal playing in the Europa League next season.

The potential play-off could pose scheduling problems for the Premier League with Chelsea due to jet off for a post-season tour next week while England are playing friendlies against the Republic of Ireland on May 29 and Brazil on June 2.

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ven if United were to sign CR7 & Messi to play upfront, the fact remains Fletcher and Cleverly are playing in midfield. That's where the problem is. Fletcher is too slow with an awful pass, while Cleverly is simply rubbish

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