SAN FRANCISCO, May 06, (THEWILL) – Chelsea and Tottenham may have secured a place in next season’s Champions League on Sunday as Manchester United and Arsenal badly fluffed their lines in the race to finish in the Premier League’s top four.
Chelsea beat Watford 3-0 to lift them into third spot behind Liverpool and Manchester City and their day was made all the sweeter as United drew at relegated Huddersfield and Arsenal were held by Brighton.
The results mean that with one round of fixtures remaining Chelsea, on 71 points, cannot be caught by fifth-placed Arsenal, who are on 67 points, or United on 66 points.
Fourth-placed Tottenham, on 70 points and with a far better goal difference than north London rivals Arsenal, are virtually assured of Champions League football next season barring an unlikely sequence of events.
Despite their miserable 1-1 draw, Arsenal can still reach the Champions League after two seasons away from Europe’s top club competition if they win the Europa League.
They are in a strong position after beating Valencia 3-1 in the first leg of the semi-final.
Arsenal, who came into the match after three straight Premier League defeats, started brightly at the Emirates and took the lead through an early Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang penalty.
But they squandered opportunities to extend their advantage and were made to pay when Glenn Murray scored from the spot following the hour mark after Granit Xhaka fouled Solly March.
Arsenal poured forward in search of a winner but Aubameyang volleyed wide from close range and Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan made several fine saves to keep them at bay.