LONDON RIVALS: Chelsea's Fernando Torres fights for the ball with Thomas Vermaelen (PA)
BOTH CHELSEA and Arsenal could end up finishing this season in third place depending on how their final match day results go.
If Chelsea draw 0-0 with Everton, and the Gunners beat Newcastle 2-1 then the London teams would finish with the same points total, and be level on goal difference and goals scored.
Such a scenario would be mean they would have to play each other in a 39th league game to determine who gets third spot.
The game would be played on a neutral ground, and most likely have to happen in June – a prospect neither clubs would want.
However, Premier League rules state that a play-off is compulsory if they end up level.
“If at the end of the season… the question of qualification for other competitions cannot be determined because two or more clubs are equal on points, goal difference and goals scored,” the regulations say, “the clubs concerned shall play off one or more deciding league matches on neutral grounds, the format, timing and venue of which shall be determined by the board.”
Each club has summer commitments, and England have friendlies to play against Brazil and Republic of Ireland.
Chelsea, who are in tonight’s Europa League final, have already played their longest season in their history, thanks to their participation in six different cup competitions this season.