Arsenal and Chelsea waste chance to boost their Champions League claims


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The Independent Football

Arsenal and Chelsea both wasted the chance to boost their Champions League claims after a goalless draw in today's Barclays Premier League lunchtime kick-off at the Emirates Stadium.

The third-placed Gunners hit the woodwork twice through Robin van Persie and Laurent Koscielny, and Van Persie had other clear-cut chances, but could not get the better of Petr Cech.

Otherwise, much-changed Chelsea were arguably the better side, but were let down by their execution in the final third as they stayed sixth with just four games remaining.

Newcastle's Champions League hopes were on the rise, though, as they held a 2-0 lead over Stoke at the interval.

Yohan Cabaye fired Newcastle in front after 14 minutes, knocking home the rebound after a Papiss Cisse header had come back off the crossbar.

Cabaye then turned provider four minutes later when he produced a slide-rule pass to put Cisse in on goal, and he made no mistake with a left-foot finish.

At the other end of the table, Blackburn's hopes of escaping the bottom three were lifted by Mauro Formica's goal against Norwich at Ewood Park.

Ayegbeni Yakubu's shot had hit the post for the home side after 38 minutes, but they were in front three minutes later with Morten Gamst Pedersen whipping in a cross for Formica to side-foot home at the far post and earn his side a 1-0 half-time advantage.

Fellow strugglers Bolton came from behind to sit 1-1 with Swansea at the interval.

The Swans took just six minutes to break the deadlock through Scott Sinclair, who unleashed a superb curling shot into the top corner.

But Bolton were level after 14 minutes when Chris Eagles provided a left-footed finish to Martin Petrov's cross.

Wigan were looking to claim their fifth win in six Premier League matches today, but were goalless against Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The match between Aston Villa and Sunderland was also without a goal at the break.