Date: 16th May 2013 at 7:00am
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Chelsea v Arsenal club crestsThe Premier League hierarchy will be drawing up a contingency plan in the unlikely event that Chelsea and Arsenal will have to play a 39th Premier League game, a play-off, to decide third place.

For example, should Chelsea draw 0-0 at home to Everton on the final day and Arsenal beat Newcastle United 2-1 at St James’ Park the two London clubs will finish level on points, goal difference and goals scored. Premier League rules dictate that a play-off will be necessary to decide which club claims third spot and automatic qualification into the Champions League group stages.

This would present a variety of problems as Wembley Stadium is booked with with the Champions League and Football League play-off finals whilst the Blues have already committed to a post-season tour in the US and will play two friendlies against Manchester City on the 23rd (St Louis) and 25th of May (New York). Chelsea have played more games than anyone else as it is, so need a play-off like they need a hole in the head.

Wembley will also be used to host England’s friendly against the Republic of Ireland on May 29th, which is why West Ham’s stadium has been mooted as a possible alternative to the national ground.

A similar contingency plan was carried out back in 1996 when there was a possibility that Newcastle and Manchester United would have to play-off for the league title. Wembley was booked for the possible event and tickets were printed in case of an emergency, it’s believed it is a situation they would rather avoid.

Having a third placed play-off would be quite ridiculous and neither club wants their season to extend into June and if Premier League executive wants to avoid such things, why haven’t they changed the rules up to now? Many of Europe’s leagues go on a head-to-head rule to decide these matters.