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Chelsea and Arsenal could face off in playoff match for third place

ChelseaArsenalTorresVermaelen (Getty)


As the English Premier League heads into it’s final week of play, a potential third-place tie could derail Chelsea’s post-season tour of the U.S.

Third-placed Chelsea sit two points above fourth-placed Arsenal in the table. However, if Arsenal were to defeat Newcastle on the final day of the season by a score of 2-1, and Chelsea were to play Everton to a scoreless draw, the two London clubs would be forced to play a play-off to determine the third and fourth place finishers. If the results played out in that manner (or 3-2, 1-1, 4-3, 2-2, etc..) Arsenal and Chelsea would finish tied on points, goal differential, and goals scored.

Though Chelsea won the head-to-head matchup between the two sides, the Premier League doesn’t use that when determining a team’s place in the standings. The potential playoff would cause issues though, as Chelsea is set to depart for St. Louis next Monday for two friendly matches held in the U.S. with Manchester City.

In addition, if the teams wait for Chelsea to return from that trip, many of the players would be released for their national team matches at the end of May and start of June for World Cup qualifiers. Neither Arsenal or Chelsea have commented on the potential situation.

What do you make of this news? What do you see happening if the scorelines play out in this scenario?

Share your thoughts below.


    • 3rd place finished does not have to play in the CL Qualifier. They are automatically placed in the draw.

      4th place team plays against an opponent during 2 legs; winner of that is then placed into the draw.

  1. Just have Arsenal come to the US and play the playoff here. It has to be on neutral grounds after all. It would be great!

  2. This would be an amazing finale for the season that has frankly lacked drama at the top of the table. Although the Premier League should recognize head to head as a tie breaker, rubbish that they don’t

    • +1, why extend the season? Don’t they usually wait until July and August to do these pre-season tours…

      i guess if they have to just play the Arsenal vs Chelsea game in St. Louis! oya Kronke’s gunnars would never visit the stadiums his other teams play in…

  3. I expect both teams will come out slugging and render the tiebreaker moot. Arsenal will show a reeling Pardew the door by a sizeable margin, but Chelsea will also beat Everton at home. In the reverse fixtures earlier this year it was Arsenal 7-3 and Chelsea 2-1.

  4. I’m just laughing aloud in regards to the footy fans who are so against a play-off set up yet are the very same ones who like the promotions play-off when it comes to EPL.

    Assuming this happens, the TV money would be ridiculous. I’m expecting it to happen and notably since officiating lately has been atrocious.

    • While I’m not a footy fan that rails against (MLS) playoffs, I can certainly recognize the difference between those two situations. In one case, you have 4 teams out of 24 that make the playoffs and then the finalists only play a total of 3 games to decide things. In the other you have over 50% of teams making the playoffs which play out over a month.

      • Why not a coin toss?
        Why not Fair Play points?
        Why not total Yellow / Red Cards?
        I’m playing Devil’s Advocate with the above questions.
        I have no issue with play-offs one way or the other however I find it amusing and hypocritical when those whom rail against MLS having a play-off format are perfectly fine with it when used by the EPL.

      • Plus 2 of the 3 promotion spots are decided without the playoff. The playoff is only for the last spot. It keeps things interesting even if isn’t a pure reflection of who did best over the course of the long season.

        I think with MLS it’s different because there’s no champions league places to shoot for (well there are but hardly the same as Europe), no europa league spots and no relegation. Those factors help maintain interest levels all season for most teams in European leagues without playoffs. So I don’t have a problem with playoffs in MLS but there should be fewer playoff spots, maybe 8 out of a soon to be 20 teams, and the playoff structure should reward regular season performance far more, maybe with byes or something like that. Right now the conference semifinals and finals offer basically zero advantage for the higher finishing teams, other than having the second leg at home.

      • as we’ve seen with MLS they’re willing to make adjustments, so who knows we may see more adjustments in the future. I’d prefer to see them refer to the play-offs as a tournament of some sort.

  5. It’s an interesting story but I doubt the exact scores necessary will happen.

    And for the inevitable commenter that questions the premise of a potential playoff, here’s an excerpt from the premier league rules: “If at the end of the season… the question of qualification for other competitions cannot be determined because two or more clubs are equal on points, goal difference and goals scored, the clubs concerned shall play off one or more deciding league matches on neutral grounds, the format, timing and venue of which shall be determined by the board.”


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