London: Chelsea and Norwich City were left hanging on to their respective targets by their fingertips after their Premier League match ended goalless at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Chelsea’s slim hopes of winning title are all but over as they now need to win their last match at relegated Cardiff City next Sunday and hope that both the top two, Manchester City and Liverpool pick up no more than one point from their last two matches.
In the day’s first match, Olivier Giroud’s first half header gave Arsenal a 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in a largely uneventful end-of-season stroll in the sun at the Emirates Stadium.
City lead the standings with a superior goal difference from Liverpool with both on 80 points from 36 matches. Chelsea have 79 points from 37.
Norwich can only avoid joining already relegated Cardiff City and Fulham in the Championship next season if they beat Arsenal next week and Sunderland lose both of their remaining fixtures.
They have 33 points, two behind Sunderland, who are one place above the relegation zone after Saturday’s 1-0 victory at Manchester United.
Chelsea had the better chance to win a tense match hitting the woodwork twice through Andre Schurrle and David Luiz. The fact Norwich did not win at Chelsea means that Aston Villa and Hull City cannot be relegated and West Brom are effectively safe as well.
With Arsenal assured of a top-four finish in the Premier League and securing Champions League football for the 17th successive time they lacked some urgency against a West Brom side still not completely safe from relegation.
Giroud headed home from a 14th minute corner to secure the points for Arsenal, who play at Norwich in their final league match next Sunday before meeting Hull City in the FA Cup final on May 17.
The nearest Arsenal came to a second goal was when Lukas Podolski hit the post in the second half.
Giroud told a television channel: “We wanted to finish well in front of our public. It has been a great season playing for the title until March. We are pleased to finish fourth.”