Blues Wrap Up Third Spot  (Sky Sports)

Arsenal 1 Chelsea 4

Nicoals AnelkaChelsea secured third place in the Premier League with a comprehensive 4-1 victory over London derby rivals Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.

The Blues made the short trip to the north of the capital well aware that a win against their fourth-placed hosts would guarantee a top-three league finish and an automatic spot in the group stages of next season's UEFA Champions League.

And Alex and Nicolas Anelka, a second-half own goal from Kolo Toure and a late Florent Malouda strike saw Guus Hiddink's side bounce back in style from their controversial defeat to Barcelona, and ensured Arsenal - who netted a consolation through Nicklas Bendtner - will be forced to play a continental qualifier.

Arsenal were guilty of wasting a number of excellent chances in the opening exchanges and Arsene Wenger's side were ruthlessly punished on 28 minutes as Alex superbly got his head to a Didier Drogba free-kick.

The Gunners - who were dumped out of the European Cup semi-finals by Manchester United in midweek - were then further rocked 11 minutes later as former player Anelka struck a superb second when unleashing a low, swerving effort from 25 yards.

Arsenal's misery increased four minutes after the interval as centre-back Toure netted at the wrong end when attempting to intercept an Ashley Cole cross.

Substitute Bendtner restored some home for the home side with a 70th minute header, but Malouda wrapped up the points when netting in the closing stages.

Chelsea - who beat Arsenal to reach the FA Cup final at the end of the month - are now guaranteed automatic entry to Europe's elite club competition once again next season, while Arsene Wenger must again guide his young team through qualification as another campaign finishes empty-handed.


The Gunners started with just leading scorer Robin van Persie in attack. Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor was left on the bench, and was booed by some fans when he came on.

Lukasz Fabianski was in goal, with regular No.1 Manuel Almunia missing from the starting XI, understood to be because of an ankle problem rather than as any statement from Wenger.

Theo Walcott, who has just signed a new long-term contract, was full of running and fired over following a neat one-two with Van Persie as Arsenal started brightly.

The England forward was put in again down the right side of the penalty area by Samir Nasri, but Petr Cech stood up well at his near post.

Abou Diaby should have scored when he shot wide after being picked out in the centre by Walcott, who then drilled an angled shot just wide from 18 yards.

Chelsea finally managed an attack when former Arsenal defender Ashley Cole skipped away down the left and pulled the ball back into the path of Malouda, with Kieran Gibbs making a timely block.

Another chance went begging for the home side when a free-kick was not cleared, and Diaby expertly pulled the high ball down - which Alex Song turned wide from three yards. It proved costly as Chelsea snatched the lead.


Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas was cautioned for showing dissent after he was ruled to have tripped Drogba.

The Ivorian lofted the resulting free-kick into the penalty area and Alex headed the ball in off the underside of the crossbar, with Fabianski rooted to the spot as Arsenal conceded a first Premier League goal at Emirates in more than 13 hours.

Fabregas was then fortunate to stay on the field when he upended Malouda and received only a stern talking to from referee Phil Dowd.

As happened against United, Arsenal found themselves 2-0 down before they could respond.

Anelka, once idolised by Gunners fans, picked up the ball just inside the opposition half and charged forward before riffling a shot into the bottom corner.

Fabianski made a smart stop with his legs from Anelka during first-half stoppage time but it was 3-0 just four minutes after the restart as Arsenal hit the self-destruct button in defence again, when Cole's cross from the left was put past Fabianski by the outstretched boot of Toure.

Cech saved from Van Persie before substitute Bendtner - fined after being photographed leaving a nightclub with his trousers down after the United defeat - headed a consolation goal with 20 minutes left.

Although the Gunners, who travel to Old Trafford for what could be a title party next week, went on to have a good spell, it was too little too late - and Malouda tapped in Chelsea's fourth from close range in the 86th minute after Anelka had struck the post following a counter-attack.


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Arsenal  Fabianski, Sagna, Toure, Silvestre, Gibbs, Fabregas, Diaby (Bendtner 59), Song (Denilson 67), Walcott (Adebayour 68), van Persie, Nasri
Subs Not Used Mannone, Djourou, Eboue, Ramsey
Booked  Fabregas
Goals  Bendtner 70

Chelsea  Cech, Bosingwa (Ivanovic 77), A. Cole, Alex, Terry, Essien, Mikel, Lampard, Malouda (Ballack 88), Anelka, Drogba
Subs Not Used
  Hilario, Belletti, Di Santo, Kalou, Mancienne
Alex 28, Anelka 39, Toure (og) 49, Malouda 86

Attendance 60,075

Referee P. Dowd  

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