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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 8, 2006

Wenger: 'Chelsea are 80% league champions'

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Chelsea remain very much in the driving seat to win the Premiership title.

The Gunners head to Old Trafford tomorrow knowing a victory would not only keep up their hopes of finishing in the top four, but also virtually end Manchester United's drive to catch the leaders.

Chelsea host West Ham at lunchtime tomorrow, when they will be looking to extend their seven-point lead, albeit for potentially only a few hours.

Wenger said: 'I would not say they (United) have no chance, but Chelsea are in a comfortable situation. I would say it is 80/20, basically.

'It is still a little bit open, but still you would favour Chelsea. They have to lose a few games, and have not done it yet.'

In early March 2003, Arsenal stormed eight points clear of Manchester United at the top of the table, prompting one bookmaker to famously pay out early on Wenger's team.

That decision, however, was to backfire as the destiny of the Premiership turned spectacularly north towards Old Trafford over the next few weeks.

The Arsenal manager, though, maintained Chelsea were in a much stronger position now then his side were three years ago.

'We never had (a lead of) seven points with six games to go. We had only five points, and it was with 10 games to go,' he said.

'Chelsea are in a much more comfortable situation.'

With Tottenham at home to Manchester City this afternoon, Arsenal could again find themselves playing catch-up, albeit with games in hand, as the race to finish in the final Champions League qualifying berth gathers pace.

Of course, Wenger's emerging side may yet win Europe's top club prize themselves this season, having secured safe passage to the semi-finals with a goalless draw against Juventus in Turin on Wednesday night.

But the Arsenal boss knows the formula for what would be relative domestic success now shows little room for error.

'For us, mathematically our fate in the championship depends on the results we make until the end of the season,' Wenger said.

'One month ago it depended on the results of the other teams as well. At the moment it depends just on us.

'We are in the situation where we cannot drop one point - even one point at Old Trafford will not be experienced as a positive result for us.

'Since we have lost at Blackburn, we have to win every game.'

Arsenal have no fresh injury concerns following their midweek trip to Turin.

Veteran centre-back Sol Campbell will be in the squad once again, and could make a return to action for the first time since February 1.

'When will I rotate? Who will I rotate? I do not know,' said Wenger.

'I am not inclined to change too much for tomorrow. I want to see how the players recover and I can still make a decision on that.'

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