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.
Manchester 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 chances to win a tense match hitting the woodwork twice through Andre Schurrle and David Luiz.
In the day’s earlier match Olivier Giroud headed home at the near post in the 14th minute, getting in front of Craig Dawson and shrugging off the defender’s attempts to hold him back as Santi Cazorla delivered a corner. Arsenal controlled the half from there, getting into a quick passing rhythm and dominating possession.
West Brom resorted to long-range efforts, with midfielder James Morrison launching a 40-yard shot after spotting Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny off his line in the first half, but the ball went well wide. Graham Dorrans’ shot from about 20 yards came closer, forcing a reaction save from Szczesny in the 32nd.
For Arsenal, the match held little significance because the club had already secured at least a fourth-place finish and a 17th consecutive season of Champions League football after Everton’s loss to Manchester City on Saturday. It felt like the home crowd was already looking forward to the summer — a summer of spending they hope — batting around a beach ball in the first half.
The Gunners have a faint hope of finishing third, meaning they wouldn’t have to play an Champions League qualification round at the start of season. But Chelsea would have to lose its final two matches for that to happen, including Sunday’s game against Norwich.