Developing story:

Arsenal and Chelsea could face third place playoff

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Premier League Preview: Newcastle - Arsenal
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Premier League Preview: Newcastle - Arsenal
Arsenal and Chelsea could face the prospect of a playoff match to decide third place in the Premier League should they end the season on level terms.

In a unique end-of-season twist, the London rivals could find themselves locked together on points, goal difference and goals scored after the final round of fixtures on Sunday meaning an extra fixture to determine who seals the automatic Champions League spot would be required.

The Gunners have amassed 70 points after beating Wigan 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night leaving them on the coattails of Rafael Benitez's Europa League finalists, which has accumulated 72 points.

Arsene Wenger's troops also slashed Chelsea's goal difference superiority to just one - 34 to 35 - and put themselves within reach of matching their goal tally having now netted 71 to the Blues' 73.

For the scenario to bud, Arsenal would have to beat Newcastle by a single goal and score two more than Chelsea should it draw at home to Everton, meaning a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge would require the Gunners to win 2-1 in the north east, and so on.

Should that situation transpire it would create a scheduling nightmare for the Premier League after Chelsea penciled in two post-season friendlies with Manchester City in the United States on May 23 and 25, which they are unable to cancel.

Meanwhile, any hope of immediately staging the game at Wembley hinges on Chelsea's availability with the Champions League final being hosted at the stadium on May 25, the Championship playoff final on May 27 and England's friendly with the Republic of Ireland on May 29.


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