Blues edge closer to EPL title after playing out a 0-0 draw against closest championship rivals Arsenal
London: Captain John Terry celebrated passionately as Chelsea edged closer to the English Premier League title after battling through a 0-0 draw at Arsenal. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho extended his unbeaten run against Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger to 13 matches, and the Blues can wrap up the title in the week ahead with victories at Leicester and Crystal Palace.
Chelsea defender John Terry reacts at full time yesterday. Pic/AFP
Ten points separate leaders Chelsea from the third-placed Gunners, who are level with Manchester City in second but have a match in hand over last season's champions. Arsenal had plenty of possession in the Emirates Stadium tussle, but once again could not find a way past Chelsea's solid rearguard, the attacking display from the home side failing to really test goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Indeed, Chelsea could feel somewhat aggrieved not to have left with all three points after Oscar's first-half effort was cleared off the line and Ramires failed to make the most of his opportunity. Arsenal still have second place in their own hands, but they will have to wait until the visit to Hull on Bank Holiday Monday to exert pressure on City and Manchester United in the battle to secure automatic Champions League qualification.
Without any striker in the Chelsea starting XI, Oscar started in a forward central role, supported by Eden Hazard and Ramires while Cesc Fabregas sat in a deeper role and was roundly booed at every touch by those Arsenal fans who once sang the name of the former captain.
Chelsea almost snatched the lead on the counter attack in the 16th minute. A long pass up-field from Fabregas split the Arsenal defence, and allowed Oscar to run clear. David Ospina rushed off his line, and clattered into the Brazilian, who had touched the bouncing ball goalwards.
Arsenal's Santi Cazorla (left) reacts after a missed chance against Chelsea at Emirates Stadium yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
Hector Bellerin dashed back to head clear off the line and behind for a corner. Those on the Chelsea bench were incensed after referee Michael Olivier declined to award a penalty and red card for what they felt was a foul by the Arsenal goalkeeper.
Mourinho bent the ear of fourth official Lee Mason before walking back into the technical area, shaking his head with a wry grin. The Arsenal fans were soon screaming for a penalty at the other end when, after 33 minutes, Bellerin cut the ball back to Cazorla and his rising shot hit the left arm of Gary Gahill at point-blank range. Again, though, the referee waved play on.
The final whistle heralded celebrations from Terry and teammates, Arsenal's slender hopes of catching Chelsea dealt a huge blow. Chelsea now head to Leicester for Wednesday night's match with the title an apparent formality.