The Premier League title race appears to have become a three-horse contest after Arsenal FC dropped off the pace following a heavy loss to Chelsea FC on a high-scoring weekend.
Celebrating his 1,000th game in charge of the Gunners, Arsène Wenger had a day to forget as his side succumbed to a 6-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge to fall seven points behind José Mourinho's men with a game in hand. The game was torn from Arsenal's grasp in the first 17 minutes, as Chelsea accelerated away via three goals in a 12-minute spell.
"The way we started, the way we pressed them and recovered the ball, it was fantastic. Everyone in the stadium felt it would be an easy Chelsea win after only ten minutes and it was then easy and comfortable," commented Mourinho afterwards, though he refused to concede that the victory made his side title favourites.
Wenger took responsibility for his team's reverse and admits his side are slipping out of contention. "This is my fault," said the Frenchman. "We got a good hiding. You don't prepare all week to experience that. It leaves [our title hopes] in a very bad situation. But we want to respond. But today is a huge disappointment, of course. When you don't turn up in a game of this stature – nobody takes that easy."
The result left Liverpool FC as Chelsea's nearest challengers, with the Reds now four points off the top but with a game to play following their 6-3 success at Cardiff City FC. Manager Brendan Rodgers is refusing to get ahead of himself, but appears quietly confident. "We're focusing on the immediate future," he said in the aftermath of his team's sixth successive league win.
"We've now got five games left at Anfield, with three away from home. That's all we can focus on. The fans can believe and dream. And when you come to see your team play away from home and they score six goals, you've got every right to do that."
Despite being back in third, the championship is Manchester City FC's to lose. A perfect record in their remaining ten games will guarantee them the crown and they are hitting their straps at the right time, as proven by Saturday's 5-0 win against Fulham FC.
"I don't think it's just between Chelsea and Man City as favourites," said Chilean boss Manuel Pellegrini, who refused to rule Arsenal out of the running. "We must continue considering what Liverpool are doing because they are playing well and scoring goals. Arsenal had a bad game but are seven points behind Chelsea with one game in hand, so the four teams have the same chance to win the title."
With Pellegrini's charges facing Manchester United FC, Arsenal and Liverpool in three of their next four outings, the tussle for glory is likely to take a few more twists and turns yet.
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