Arsenal looks to delay Chelsea's title coronation as Wenger, Mourinho renew rivalry

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MANCHESTER, England — With Chelsea holding a 10-point lead in the Premier League with six games left, it's surely no longer a question of whether the team will win the title.

To many, it's about when it will happen.

Beat Arsenal on Sunday in a match between the league's top two teams and Chelsea can clinch the championship at Leicester on Wednesday, with four games and 3½ weeks of the campaign spare.

Lose — and that hasn't happened to a Jose Mourinho-managed Chelsea team in 12 meetings with Arsenal — and it's likely the coronation will merely be delayed until one of the two upcoming home games, against Crystal Palace on May 3 and Liverpool on May 10.

"I feel we are almost there," Mourinho said, "but there are no 'almosts' in football."

All the same, the engraver is probably sharpening his blade and preparing to chisel "Chelsea" on the trophy for the first time since 2010.

After blowing away its rivals with attractive, attacking football for much of the first half of the season, Mourinho's side has been far from its best in recent weeks but is still churning out the victories. Saturday's 1-0 win over Manchester United, which effectively ended its slim hopes of reeling in Chelsea, was a case in point.

Chelsea had just 29.7 percent possession against United, a miserly amount considering the talent in Mourinho's team and the fact the match was being played at Stamford Bridge. But United walked straight into Chelsea's trap and was hit on the counter-attack through Eden Hazard's goal.

Expect Chelsea to cede possession to Arsenal at Emirates Stadium, too. It won't bother Mourinho one bit.

A win for Arsenal wouldn't just stall the Blues' procession to the title, it would also be a relief for Wenger to finally get one over his counterpart at the 13th attempt. Wenger was labeled a "specialist in failure" by Mourinho last season, and it wasn't the first time the pair have clashed. Wenger even pushed Mourinho in the chest in a touchline confrontation during the teams' meeting at Stamford Bridge in October.

Unsurprisingly, they didn't shake each other's hand after the final whistle.

Here are some things to know about this weekend's games:


LEICESTER'S LIFELINE

At the end of March, Leicester was on an eight-match winless streak and an apparent certainty to go down. Fast forward a month and the Midlands club is the form team among the relegation contenders and on the verge of escaping the bottom three.

Consecutive wins over West Ham, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea have seen Leicester climb off the bottom of the standings and go tied on points with 17th-place Hull. The first of its remaining six matches is against last-place Burnley on Saturday.

While Burnley hasn't scored in four games, Leicester has netted 10 times in that period, which is the reason behind its resurgence.

"The danger is people start believing the job is done," Leicester manager Nigel Pearson said. "It is far from it."

Three points separate the bottom five teams with a month remaining in the season.


TOURE'S FUTURE

It was in Manchester City's win over Aston Villa around this time last year that Yaya Toure scored a solo goal with a surging run from inside his own half, summing up everything about the midfielder: Power, strength, technique.

That capped a brilliant season on a personal level for Toure, who scored 20 goals and was the driving force behind City run to the title.

Heading into the teams' latest meeting on Saturday, Toure is struggling to reach the same levels, with his contribution and work rate in midfield being criticized by some pundits.

Tellingly, Toure's agent, Dimitri Seluk, has popped up with comments in the media about the player's future and said he has received offers for Toure from two clubs.

"I want someone to say that they want Yaya to stay at Manchester City," Seluk said.

City is fourth, a point behind Man United and seven clear of fifth-place Liverpool. Villa is four points clear of the relegation zone after an upturn in results under new manager Tim Sherwood, and reached the FA Cup final last weekend.

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