BURNLEY, England — If Chelsea collapses in the final weeks of the Premier League season, Arsenal will be primed to take advantage.
Aaron Ramsey extended Arsenal’s winning run to eight matches on Saturday by clinching a 1-0 victory at Burnley.
Arsenal’s resurgence has sent the team four points behind Chelsea with six matches to go, but Jose Mourinho’s side has two games in hand.
“I am pleased because it was a more fighting and fluent performance and many people question us on that side,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. “We had to fight and be combative until the end. We couldn’t score the second goal and our defenders played well today and got us the three points.”
Chelsea’s plays struggling Queens Park Rangers on Sunday, while Manchester rivals United and City meet in a clash between third and fourth.
“Nothing has changed, they are too comfortable Chelsea,” Wenger said. “We need a perfect run and non-perfect run from them. We can’t master that.”
It is a tight tussle against the drop with bottom-place Leicester winning 3-2 at West Bromwich Albion to go within a point of Burnley and QPR.
The two teams directly above the relegation zone both lost on Saturday. Sunderland was thrashed 4-1 at home by Crystal Palace, and Hull went down 2-0 at Southampton.
As Southampton rose to fifth, Tottenham slid to seventh with a 1-0 loss to Aston Villa. Christian Benteke’s header gave manager Tim Sherwood a victory against the club which fired him last year and lifted Villa six points clear of danger.
The only game on Saturday with any impact on the top of the standings was at Burnley. And Arsenal discovered just why Manchester City lost here and Tottenham was held 0-0 in the last month.
“It was definitely one of the tougher games,” Ramsey said. “A lot of the big teams have dropped points here this season.”
Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton saved a free kick from Alexis Sanchez in the first minute, but he conceded his first goal at home since Feb. 28 in the 12th minute.
Mesut Ozil’s shot was parried by Heaton, Sanchez’s follow-up hit Kieran Trippier, but Ramsey sent a powerful strike into the bottom corner amid a goalmouth scramble.
Tripper came close to levelling when his dipping free kick was turned away by David Ospina’s diving save, while George Boyd and Danny Ings squandered chances to grab a point for Burnley in the second half.
“We’ve got good belief in our performances,” Burnley manager Sean Dyche said. “We still need to add quality to our performance, but there’s certainly a will and a demand to go and get more points this season.”
There was a pair of 1-1 draws between teams hovering around the middle of the standings. Jonjo Shelvey’s penalty for Swansea cancelled out Aaron Lennon’s Everton opener. West Ham conceded a stoppage time equalizer from Stoke’s Marko Arnautovic.
At the Hawthorns, West Brom players wore a replica of the all-white kit the team donned in the 1968 FA Cup final in Saturday’s game against Leicester, in honour of former striker of Jeff Astle who died in 2002 of a brain condition.
Astle’s family have launched a foundation to promote help for sufferers and research of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a condition usually linked to boxing that sees the brain degenerate progressively because of repeated head trauma.
Rob Harris, The Associated Press