Luis Suarez, after not getting sent off for this bite, scored an equalizer in the 7th minute of extra-time to earn a 2-2 draw against Chelsea. The result does little for Liverpool, but it could be crucial for Arsenal in the race for Champions League play next year.
The EPL top four qualify for the very lucrative Champions League. The standings are as follows:
3. Arsenal [63pts, 4 matches left]
4. Chelsea [62 pts, 5 matches left]
5. Tottenham [61pts, 5 matches left]
Chelsea and Tottenham each have a game in hand. That game in hand, though, is against each other. One or both of the two teams must drop points. Suarez’ goal cost Chelsea two points. This places Arsenal’s finish in their own hands. If the Gunners can win their final four matches, they finish in the top four regardless of other results. That’s not a given, though.
Arsenal have taken 16 of their last 18 points in the EPL. But they have been profiting from fortune recently. In their last three matches, they trailed Norwich after the 80th minute at home before coming back to win. They drew Everton 0-0 in an insipid draw at home. They then barely beat Fulham 1-0 despite facing 10 men almost the entire match. Losing Olivier Giroud to a three-match ban was not helpful, especially with Theo Walcott having gone 11 appearances without a goal (last on Jan. 30).
Their next opponent, as well, is Manchester United. The game is at home. United will have the title all but secure. That said, Arsenal has won just one point in five matches against the other members of the top four this season. The Gunners have the best position, but this is anything but over.