In a London derby with few clear chances, Chelsea produced a typically organised display to frustrate the hosts and preserve their 10-point lead at the top with five games left.
Jose Mourinho’s side have 77 points and a win over Leicester City in midweek would leave them all but certain of their first league title since 2010. Second-placed Manchester City have 67, having played a game more, level with Arsenal in third.
While Chelsea strengthened their hold on first place, Manchester United’s top four aspirations suffered a setback as Louis van Gaal’s side were beaten 3-0 by clinical Everton.
First-half goals from James McCarthy and John Stones put the hosts in control and substitute Kevin Mirallas sealed victory late on to push Everton into the top half of the table for the first time this season.
Fourth-placed United enjoyed 65 percent of possession but lacked any real cutting edge with striker Radamel Falcao’s frustration complete when he had a well-taken effort disallowed for offside.
United’s defeat, following last week’s loss to Chelsea, leaves them still a comfortable seven points above fifth-placed Liverpool although that gap could be sliced to four if the latter win their game in hand at Hull City on Tuesday.
Had they beaten Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, Jose Mourinho’s men would have travelled to Leicester on Wednesday knowing that victory over the resurgent Foxes would have been enough to secure Chelsea’s first English title since 2010.
However, a win on Wednesday will set Chelsea up to take the Premier League trophy in front of their own fans should they also beat Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge next weekend.
The draw meant Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was still waiting for his first win over Mourinho, the Frenchman now having failed to record a victory in 13 meetings with his Portuguese counterpart.
In Saturday’s late match, An 89th-minute goal by Fernandinho earned soon-to-be-deposed champions Manchester City a thrilling 3-2 win over Aston Villa..
Sergio Aguero’s third-minute opener — following a goalkeeping error by Brad Guzan — and a 66th-minute free kick by Aleksandar Kolarov should have seen City coast to victory.
However, the swagger of last season has gone, and goals by Tom Cleverley and Carlos Sanchez — both following misjudgments by City goalkeeper Joe Hart — drew Villa level by the 85th. There was still time for a City corner to drift through a crowded penalty box to midfielder Fernandinho, who chested the ball down before finding the net from eight metres.
“It was one of our worst games in possession,” under-pressure City manager Manuel Pellegrini said. “It was strange to see the important number of passes we lost.”
The 68th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily