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Do Liverpool and Arsenal Really Have a Chance?

If you ask Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger or Liverpool's Rafael Benitez, they'll tell you the Premiership title race is now "wide-open," after their clubs prevailed in respective home clashes this weekend against Manchester United and Chelsea. Following Arsenal's last-gasp 2-1 win over Manchester United, Wenger declared, "Everybody still has a chance...We have maybe less than the others, but we'll...fight to win every game."

However, Wenger and Benitez's confidence is undermined by the big gap that still exists between them and leader Manchester United-11 points for Liverpool and 12 for Arsenal. As The Guardian points out, the lead isn't insurmountable. Benitz, for his part, achieved a similar comeback in Spain as manager of Valencia four years ago. After suffering successive that left the club 9 points behind leader Real Madrid, Benitez's side went on a tear, winning 13 of its last 17 matches, drawing 3 and losing just one en route to the club's first Primera Division title in 31 years.

In the end, it took a spectacular train wreck from Real Madrid in the final quarter of the season to help Valencia (and others) leapfrog it in the standings. Indeed, to repeat that success this year, Benitez's men would likely need an even better record, because the current pace set by Man U and Chelsea is about as strong as Valencia's season-ending run in 2003. "You have to be calm and quiet about your targets," Benitez said of Liverpool's title chances; for the time being the target is Chelsea, which is now just five points ahead.

Read the whole story at The Guardian »

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