Arsenal may still have a mathematical chance of winning the Premier League but their manager Arsene Wenger conceded it was now “impossible” for Chelsea not to finish as champions following the London rivals’ 0-0 stalemate on Sunday.
The result at the Emirates Stadium leaves Chelsea, who have five games remaining, top on 77 points, 10 clear of champions Manchester City, who have four games left, and Arsenal, who also have five to play.
If Chelsea win at Leicester City on Wednesday, the only team that can still theoretically catch the leaders are Arsenal, but Wenger admitted he did not think that would happen.
Asked if Chelsea were going to finish as champions, he told reporters: “Yes we know that, it is impossible for them to lose it now.
“They are not champions yet, but they will be. You get what you deserve. They started strong and that made the difference in the first part of the season compared to us, they played very well.”
Sunday’s result ended Arsenal’s run of nine successive home league wins and also their run of nine successive wins in all competitions and left Wenger still without a win against Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho in 13 meetings over the last decade.
Arsenal’s season can still end on a high, though, if they retain the FA Cup against Aston Villa and Wenger was upbeat about their performances in the second half of the season and their immediate future prospects.
“I think we have closed the gap (on Chelsea) since the start of the season,” he said.
“Now we want to finish the season well. You look at the other results and every game is difficult. We go to Hull next and before we play the Cup final we want to secure our place in the top four, that’s not done yet.
“After that the top three, then the top two and that’s all to do now.”
But he downplayed his long winless run against Mourinho and the fact that Arsenal have not beaten Chelsea for eight matches since they won 5-3 at Stamford Bridge in October 2011. They have not scored against them in their last five games either.
“It’s about our club and our team and not about me. What you want is to win the game, the rest is good for media talk. What is interesting is what happens on the football pitch,” said Wenger.