Chelsea have been given a warning they could be overtaken by London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham as the Premier League’s top four race heats up.
An embarrassing 4-1 loss to Brentford at Stamford Bridge on Saturday opened up the chase for the two remaining Champions League spots behind breakaway leaders Man City and Liverpool.
Going into the game, the Blues were in excellent form having won the last five league games.
That run seemed to stretch to six after Antonio Rudiger scored a superb opening goal, but, remarkably, that only proved to be a consolation.
Brentford fought back, scoring four unanswered goals past the west London hosts, leaving Tuchel’s side stunned and facing a fight to retain third place.
With Spurs winning 5-1 at home to Newcastle, not only did they move Arsenal into fourth place, but Antonio Conte’s side also moved within five points of Thomas Tuchel’s men, although that Chelsea have one game less on them.
The Gunners, however, can reclaim fourth place with any kind of result against Crystal Palace on Monday night.
What is certain is that the race is on the wire and, significantly, the two north London teams have yet to face off with a date and time to be confirmed by the Premier League.
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While third place would be a bonus for Conte and Mikel Arteta with extra revenue coming into play, securing fourth place is imperative, and speaking on talkSPORT Breakfast, Gunners legend Ray Parlor spoke about the chances of the two clubs.
“All Spurs fans will be delighted, scoring five goals at home is always great,” said the Invincibles favourite.
“The goal before half-time is very important, Newcastle scoring the first goal, they could lead 1-0 at half-time and it’s a totally different game.
“But Davies [scores] and what ball from [Heung-Min] Son, he’s such a good player Son, I’ve been watching [the game] yesterday and he was fantastic.
“Every time he had the ball he did something, the pace he has, also scored his goal, [Harry] Kane and Son are fantastic players, absolutely brilliant.
“And if they can get the other guys around them to play to their ability like they’re doing right now then they’ll be there or thereabouts. I always thought it was Tottenham and Arsenal for this fourth place.
“I think Manchester United [are] too inconsistent for me, another not great weekend performance [a 1-1 draw with Leicester] so it looks like they got out of it.
“Tottenham have to play Arsenal at home, so it’s going to be the crucial game. From Arsenal’s point of view, you just want to go out there and try to get a point. You would take a point if you were Arsenal.
Talking about Chelsea’s fortunes, Parlor said their result was just a blip but told them they needed to respond quickly with a massive tie against Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals.
“They must now [bounce back]they have a huge Champions League game coming up,” the former Premier League star added.
“It’s a blip and I hope [Thomas] Tuchel will look at him like that and say ‘let’s go now, let’s focus on what’s next’.
“Chelsea have to be careful, Arsenal have to go and play against Chelsea there at Stamford Bridge.
“If they can somehow get a result against Chelsea, which we’ve seen Brentford do, then suddenly third place could be up for grabs for Spurs or Arsenal.”
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