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Apr, 22, 2011

Cech: Arsenal have blown chances

Petr Cech has claimed Arsenal have wasted their ample opportunities to chase down Manchester United and declared Chelsea are now leading the hunt.

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Cech's Chelsea are the in-form team in the Premier League and although they have perhaps left their run too late to catch United and defend their title, they took advantage of Arsenal's 3-3 draw at Tottenham on Wednesday by beating Birmingham to claim second place.

Chelsea now sit six points behind leaders United, giving them a faint sniff of a comeback that seemed unlikely during the Blues' winter slump, but according to goalkeeper Cech it could have been Arsenal in their sights had the Gunners been ruthless enough.

"They were 3-1 up [against Tottenham]," Cech said. "They threw it away. They've had plenty of chances to close the gap this season. They haven't taken them. It will be up to them how they cope. You can see how quickly things change. Two weeks ago the situation looked one way. Now it looks another. A few days on everything looks different. We are back in second spot and we are only six points behind United.

"We have two games at home which will be massive for us. If we can win both the situation can change again. We have West Ham United [on Saturday] and then a big game against Spurs. We have to keep winning to maintain our momentum and keep up the pressure on everyone else."

However, Arsene Wenger was unimpressed with Cech's take on the title race in his press conference on Friday morning.

"Mathematically - and I was not too bad in maths - it's quite difficult to understand the logic of his statement," Wenger said. "When he have the same number of points I can't see the difference."

Chelsea have dropped just two points in their last seven games but they will still almost certainly need to beat United at Old Trafford on May 8 if they are to close the six-point deficit with just five games remaining. Cech is pleased Chelsea have achieved their aim of working their way back into contention but he still feels United are in control, and he defended their recent form.

"It's United to lose still," he said. "They are top of the table, they have a six-point advantage over us. They play us at home. It's their title to be lost. But we are going to do everything to get as many points as possible to keep our chances alive. Let's see how they cope. We have only one competition to concentrate on which is to our advantage because you can get more rest and prepare all week.

"You can't win every game. They've been a bit unlucky. They were the better side against Manchester City in the [FA Cup] semi-final but missed two big chances. It was clear that after their run of good results they could hit a game where they would be unlucky and that's what happened and they got knocked out. A few days later you play a league game and sometimes it's very hard. Fortunately they dropped two points and we took advantage of it."

Chelsea welcome West Ham and Tottenham to Stamford Bridge before their visit to Old Trafford, then host Newcastle and finish the season away to Everton.

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