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Sang Tan, Associated Press
Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen, left, and Laurent Koscielny, center, jump for the ball with Chelsea's John Terry during their English Premier League soccer match at the Emirates stadium, London, Saturday, April 21 , 2012.

LONDON — Arsenal missed the chance to tighten its grip on third place in the Premier League on Saturday, drawing 0-0 at home to top-four rival Chelsea to keep the race for Champions League qualification in the balance.

The hosts came closer to breaking the deadlock in a London derby of few chances, with top scorer Robin van Persie and Laurent Koscielny both striking the goal frame in the first half.

The result leaves Arsenal within range of Tottenham and Newcastle, who are both six points behind Arsene Wenger's team having played two matches fewer.

Chelsea remained seven points behind Arsenal with a game in hand, with its best chance of qualifying for the Champions League now likely hinging on winning this year's competition.