Mar 21, 2014

    Arsenal gunning for Chelsea's top spot


    ARSENE Wenger has the chance to ram Jose Mourinho's words down his throat tomorrow when his Arsenal team travel to Stamford Bridge looking to snatch control of the Premier League title race from Chelsea.

    There would be no better way for Wenger to mark his 1,000th game in charge of Arsenal than to ruin Mourinho's unblemished home league record as Chelsea boss after the Portuguese dismissed the Frenchman as a "specialist in failure" last month.

    Chelsea appeared to have taken a vice-like grip on the title race until last weekend's 1-0 defeat by Aston Villa and wins for chasers Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City squeezed things up at the top of the table.

    Worse was to come for Mourinho when he was charged with improper conduct by the Football Association on Wednesday after being sent to the stands during the defeat by Villa. He has until Monday to respond.

    Chelsea still have a four-point lead over Arsenal and Liverpool, although the latter two have a game more to play. Fourth-placed City are six points back with three games in hand over Chelsea.

    City host bottom club Fulham tomorrow while surging Liverpool will be looking for a sixth consecutive victory when they visit a Cardiff City side fighting for survival.

    Despite their rivals closing in, Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard insisted the Blues had a good chance to win their first league crown since 2010.

    "They've got a lot of good players and quality," he said of Arsenal. "Every team has to break the mould some time.

    "We worry about ourselves, where we are at the minute. If we can win as many games as we can till the end of the season, we'll give ourselves a great chance. I am confident."

    Arsenal appeared to be slipping out of contention after back-to-back away league defeats, but a grinding 1-0 win at Tottenham last weekend put them back in the mix for their first title since 2004.

    Victory at Stamford Bridge, where Mourinho has never lost a league game, would put the Gunners within a point of the summit with a game in hand which would be an impressive feat, given injuries to Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Mesut Oezil.

    However, Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky said the result at Chelsea would not necessarily be key to Arsenal's hopes.

    "It will be a vital game against Chelsea but there are still so many games to go," he said on Arsenal's website.

    "It can change very, very quickly in two games and, of course, you talk about Chelsea and Man City but you have to talk about Liverpool as well. There are four teams there and it is absolutely exciting."