The race for Champions League qualification recommenced at the Emirates Stadium today when third placed Arsenal hosted sixth placed Chelsea on Saturday 21st April 2012. Fresh off their fantastic victory against Barcelona midweek, Blues manager Roberto Di Matteo made a number of changes to his Chelsea starting line up, resting key players the likes of striker Didier Drogba, who was vital to their victory. Arsenal were also missing out on a key player in the shape of playmaker Mikel Arteta with the midfielder now missing the rest of the season with a cruciate ligament injury.
With Chelsea still in with a chance of winning the European Champions League, thus ensuring automatic qualification next year, Di Matteo was still keen to chase the coveted third and fourth position, despite his men languishing in the surprisingly low league position of sixth. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger would be hoping for a good result today in order to fully cement their hold on third position. With their recent slip-ups against relegation battlers QPR and Wigan, the strong lead the Gunners once had over the chasing European pack had been reduced slightly.
In what was a game full of chances for the home side, Arsenal failed to capitalise on the many attempts on goal they had and were frustratingly held to a 0-0 draw by a tight and stubborn Chelsea defence. Demonstrating echoes of their display against Barcelona mid week, Chelsea remained solid as a unit and judging by their style and approach to the game, came to the Emirates for a draw. A slightly fatigued Robin Van Persie failed to add to his great tally of Premiership goals this season when he saw efforts by himself strike the post on a few occasions.
The game ending 0-0, the Chelsea faithful appeared happy with the result whereas Arsenal fans were ruing the many missed chances their team had. With Newcastle winning their game today against Stoke, the Magpies catapult themselves into fourth position and now trail Arsenal by only three points. With Spurs set to play later against QPR in a must win watch for Harry Redknapp’s men, eyes will be on their fortune in the fixture with a win for Spurs narrowing the gap between them and Arsenal down to just two points.
WinkBall video reporters Alex and Dean were down at the Emirates to speak to both sets of fans and ask them about today’s game between Arsenal and Chelsea.