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Chelsea double Arsenal’s chances of top-four finish with Man Utd and Spurs surprise hammer blows – Tom Canton

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There are very few occasions when Arsenal supporters look to their west London rivals with anything other than dislike. The rivalry between the pair dates back to the Blues’ rise as Premier League contenders after Roman Abramovich’s acquisition.

Since then, the multi-million-pound investment during the mid-00s onwards has propelled Chelsea above Arsenal in present-day competitiveness. However, whilst their current season’s targets may differ, the Gunners can thank their 21st-century adversary for aiding in the hunt for a top-four spot.

Arsenal face competition from Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and West Ham United as only one team looks likely to join Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City in the top four.

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The Gunners’ win over Wolves propelled the side into fifth and with the advantage of two games in hand over fourth-placed West Ham who are just the one point above them.

Manchester United and Tottenham have both faltered however in their own hunt for the Champions League as both sides were visited by Southampton.

While Arsenal blitzed the south coasters earlier in the season with a comfortable 3-0 win at the Emirates, Spurs fell to a 3-2 defeat and this afternoon, despite taking a first-half lead, Man Utd were lucky to come away with just a draw.

In both games, Chelsea’s impressive loanee Armando Broja was an absolute menace. Scoring Saints’ first against Tottenham whilst terrorising Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane.

It was Che Adams who got the Southampton goal, but Broja stretched the United defence all game and was arguably unlucky not to be awarded a penalty after being brought down by Maguire in the second half with the score then level.

United’s draw put them in the same boat as West Ham and should Arsenal win their two postponed fixtures against Wolves (H) and Spurs (A) they would go five clear of Ralf Rangnick’s side and the Hammers.

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Spurs meanwhile face a motivated Wolves side, still reeling from Arsenal’s supposed over-celebration on Thursday night.

After the conclusion of Man Utd’s 1-1 draw with Southampton, the prediction algorithm of the Soccer Power Index courtesy of FiveThirtyEight showed that the Gunners have nearly doubled their chances of beating Spurs to the top four.

Manchester United meanwhile have dropped to just a 14% chance of reaching the qualification spots.

Arsenal have a predicted 49% chance to finish in the Champions League qualification places.

Arsenal have a predicted 49% chance to finish in the Champions League qualification places.

What has clearly been the most beneficial to Arsenal has been their defensive record. The Arsenal offensive rating of 2.1 is lower than that of United (2.2) and Spurs (2.2) but the Gunners’ defensive rating (0.5) is 0.2 better than both the aforementioned rivals.

Their eleven clean sheets this season have been the difference and the summer signings of Ben White, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Nuno Tavares and Aaron Ramsdale have all contributed.

Yet, it still could be Armando Broja and inadvertently Chelsea that Arsenal end up thanking at the same time for their rivals’ misery.

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https://www.football.london/arsenal-fc/news/chelsea-double-arsenals-chances-top-23078767