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(UK time) 19:36:49

Premier League

17 April 2012

Buoyant Chelsea could hinder Arsenal’s European plans

A nervy end to the season could be on store for Arsenal as they chase the top four

Buoyant Chelsea could hinder Arsenal’s European plans

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Chelsea travel to the Emirates in Saturday’s early kick-off for what will be their third crucial game in six days, and they are invitingly priced at 12/5 to overcome an Arsenal side that may well just be faltering, with losses to both QPR and Wigan in their last four fixtures.

The Gunners themselves head into this one as 11/10 favourites to claim victory against their London rivals for the second time this season, after a thrilling encounter that ended 5-3 back in October.

Arsenal currently command a five-point gap over fifth-placed Newcastle and a seven-point gap over their visitors.

However, defeat for Arsene Wenger’s side this weekend could blow the Champions League scenario wide open, especially if both Newcastle and Spurs can take three points in their respective fixtures.

Chelsea could enter into Saturday’s clash in buoyant mood if they can get a positive result against Barca in midweek.

Roberto Di Matteo’s team will face an Arsenal side struggling for confidence after the demoralising defeat at home to Wigan, presenting the Pensioner’s with the perfect opportunity to close the gap on the top four.

Wenger’s side have won only four of their nine meetings with fellow top-six sides this term and they have lost six of the last nine contests with the Blues.

The North London club are currently priced at 1/9 to claim a top-four spot but with the form of the teams below them picking up they may well be beginning to sweat, and they face a tough fixture away to Stoke after this one, on a ground where they have only won once in the Premier League.

Chelsea, who are 13/8 to land a top-four berth, and the Toon, at 11/4, are both in form, with the former losing just once in their last 12 and Alan Pardew’s side having being defeated only once in their previous eight, whilst Spurs face four of the bottom six in their run-in and are 4/7 to play in next season’s Champions League.

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