Premier League: Chelsea and Arsenal may have to play-off for third place
Arsenal's defeat of Wigan on Tuesday night has opened up the possibility of a play-off for third in the Premier League.
Last Updated: 16/05/13 2:55pm
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.