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Arsene Wenger Excited At Chelsea Champions League Play-Off Prospect

Arsenal manager would welcome play-off for third place.

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has told the Daily Mirror that he would welcome the idea of a play-off with Chelsea for third place this season.

The two London sides could finish the Premier League campaign with identical records in the league, meaning they would have to play a one-off game to determine who qualifies automatically for the Champions League next season.

Chelsea are currently in third place with 72 points, and Arsenal are behind them in fourth with 70. If Chelsea’s final game against Everton ends 0-0 and Arsenal win 2-1 at Newcastle, that would bring them level on 73 points, with an identical goal difference of +35, and remarkably, an identical record of 73 goals scored and 38 conceded.

It was thought that in such scenario, third place would be decided on aggregate score between the two sides in the league this season, which would see Chelsea finisher higher due to 2-1 home and away wins over the Gunners.

However, it has been confirmed that the two sides will have to square up in a one-off game at a neutral venue, a prospect that Gunners boss Wenger would welcome.

“I would fancy that,” said the Frenchman. “But, anyway, if there’s a play-off, it exists only if we win the game. So let’s just win the game and then, afterwards, we’ll see what happens. That’s the first compulsory thing we face: win the game.”

Arsenal will be hoping they don’t end up in fifth, as a draw or defeat at Newcastle would still allow rivals Tottenham to overtake them in the final Champions League spot, and Wenger added that he expected the issue of fourth place to go down to the last day of the season.

“I had the feeling that it could go to the last day,” he said. “I know for a long time when we were seven points behind that we would all be happy that it goes to the last day.

“We are in a position nobody expected us to be in. We have our destiny in our hands, our fate in our hands and that’s what you fight for in the game.”

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