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English Premiership

Wenger concedes title to the Blues

WENGER-OZILLONDON, April 27- Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has claimed that Chelsea should already be considered champions, after the two sides played out a 0-0 draw at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

The Blues headed into their clash against the Gunners with a nine-point lead  over second-placed Manchester City. The goalless stalemate handed both teams a point, extending Chelsea’s lead to 10 above both City and Arsenal, who drew level with the holding Champions on points.

There are now five games remaining for Chelsea and Arsenal, and one less for City, meaning that the Blues can win the league at home against Crystal Palace next Sunday, assuming they also beat Leicester City in their next fixture at the King Power Stadium on Wednesday.

The Foxes aren’t likely to just roll over and die, as they are in the midst of a dramatic escape from relegation and have won their last four on the trot, while Palace could also be a tough nut to crack.

Although next weekend at Stamford Bridge is the earliest Jose Mourinho can claim the title, the Blues still only need to win two out of five, meaning that the title is theirs to lose, something Wenger doesn’t expect to happen.

“We know Chelsea will be champions,” he told Sky Sports. “A win for us today was absolutely necessary, so it’s impossible for Chelsea to lose it now.

“Chelsea are a good side because they defend very well. In the recent games they haven’t conceded and today they defended very well.

“We lacked freedom and expression in our offensive game. We played with the handbrake on at times.

“I must say the team has progressed very well since the start of the season and we are still on a very good run.

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“[But] we were conscious of their counter attack and maybe it was a bit too much in our heads not to be naïve and that may have taken something off us going forward.

“We produced a performance that was requested and one we wanted to produce. In the first half we played with the right intensity but in the dangerous situations we lacked the right decision in the final third.”

Arsenal will also need to fight off competition from behind, as they look to secure a top-three finish and automatic Champions League qualification. They have the luxury of a game in hand over Manchester City, who are level on points with them; and Manchester United, who are two behind.

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