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EPL PIX: Man United and Chelsea get Champions League spots

Last updated on: July 26, 2020 23:33 IST
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Chelsea earn Champions League spot with win over Wolves

Chelsea

IMAGE: Wolverhampton Wanderers' Raul Jimenez in action with Chelsea's Marcos Alonso. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Reuters

Chelsea secured a Champions League place on Sunday as first-half goals from Mason Mount and Olivier Giroud secured a 2-0 home win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in their final Premier League game of the season and with it a top-four finish.

Four minutes had been added to a nervy opening period when Marcos Alonso went down outside the Wolves area and Mount curled an exquisite free kick over the wall into the top left corner.

 

Barely two minutes later Chelsea’s France striker Giroud showed all his experience and poise when he latched on to Mount’s pass, rounded goalkeeper Rui Patricio and held off Wolves captain Conor Coady to poke the ball home.

Frank Lampard’s Chelsea side needed a point to guarantee a Champions League spot in a three-way battle involving Manchester United and Leicester City and would have felt aggrieved had they missed out after being a top-four fixture since last October.

Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo brought on early substitutes, including tricky winger Adama Traore at halftime, to put the pressure on as his side chased a Europa League place for the second straight season but a much calmer Chelsea, with their two-goal cushion, rarely looked liked losing control.

Man United finish third after 2-0 win at Leicester

Manchester United

IMAGE: Manchester United's Jesse Lingard scores their second goal. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Reuters

Manchester United won 2-0 at Leicester City on Sunday to finish third in the Premier League and clinch a place in next season’s Champions League.

United booked their spot in Europe’s elite club competition on the final day of the season at the expense of Leicester who finished fifth behind fourth-placed Chelsea and will have to settle for a Europa League berth.

Manchester United finished on 66 points, ahead of Chelsea on goal difference and four points clear of Leicester, who missed several chances before they were undone late on by sloppy errors.

Bruno Fernandes fired United ahead with a 71st-minute penalty and substitute Jesse Lingard sealed the win deep into stoppage time after a bad mistake by Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

Leicester dominated the opening half as Youri Tielemans went close with a clever first-time shot which trickled inches wide before Schmeichel kept out a Marcus Rashford volley on the stroke of halftime.

Jamie Vardy hit the top of the woodwork for Leicester on the hour from an audacious header with his back facing goal before the home side collapsed in the last 20 minutes, with defender Jonny Evans receiving a late red card for a rash tackle on Scott McTominay.

Man City end league campaign with 5-0 battering of Norwich

Manchester City

IMAGE: Manchester City's Raheem Sterling shoots at goal. Photograph: Dave Thompson/Reuters

Manchester City wrapped up their Premier League campaign with an emphatic 5-0 home victory over already-relegated Norwich City on Sunday in Spanish midfielder David Silva’s final league game for last season’s champions.

City’s goals came from Gabriel Jesus, a Kevin de Bruyne double, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez as they finished the season in second place with 81 points, 18 behind champions Liverpool. Norwich ended bottom of the standings on 21 points.

Brazil striker Jesus stabbed home City’s opener from close range in the 11th minute from Sterling’s low cross after the England winger sparked panic on Norwich’s right with a quick exchange of passes with De Bruyne.

Belgium international De Bruyne added the second with a sumptuous strike just before halftime, collecting Kyle Walker’s pass on the edge of the box and curling the ball past Norwich keeper Tim Krul and into the top corner.

Silva, who is out of contract at the end of the season, was involved in Manchester City’s third, passing wide to De Bruyne, whose inch-perfect pass played in Sterling to slot home past Krul in the 79th minute.

Substitute Mahrez heaped more misery on Norwich in the 83rd minute with a right-footed strike before De Bruyne scored his second of the night in the 90th minute, curling a shot past the helpless Krul.

Norwich, who ended the season with 10 league defeats in a row, had the ball in the net in the eighth minute, but Onel Hernandez’s effort was ruled out for offside after a VAR review.

Hernandez was also unlucky not to score in the second half when he dribbled through a host of defenders only to see his shot smothered by goalkeeper Ederson, whose clean sheet won him the league’s Golden Glove award.

Chances were at a premium for Norwich but striker Teemu Pukki passed up a gilt-edged opportunity with his team still just a goal behind, shooting straight at Ederson after finding himself one-on-one against the Brazilian keeper.

The match marked Silva’s 309th league appearance for the club he joined a decade ago, and the 34-year-old nearly scored in the 54th minute after carving out a yard of space in the Norwich box, but Krul reacted well to palm his shot away.

Champions Liverpool end season with 3-1 win over Newcastle

Liverpool

IMAGE: Newcastle United's Dwight Gayle in action with Liverpool's James Milner. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Reuters

Striker Divock Origi scored a rare goal as champions Liverpool came from behind to close out their magnificent Premier League season with a 3-1 win at Newcastle United on Sunday.

Liverpool ended the campaign on 99 points, 18 ahead of nearest rivals Manchester City while Newcastle finished 13th on 44 points.

Liverpool went behind to the fastest goal ever scored against them in the Premier League era as Dwight Gayle latched on to Jonjo Shelvey’s free kick and slotted it past Alisson with 26 seconds on the clock.

With Liverpool having made five changes to the team that started the 5-3 win over Chelsea on Wednesday, it fell to ever-present Virgil van Dijk to score the equaliser with a towering header seven minutes before halftime.

Belgian forward Origi, who had not scored in the league since bagging a brace against Everton on Dec. 4, put the Reds in front in the 59th minute, cutting in from the left before curling the ball in at the far post.

Liverpool turned the screw by bringing on the attacking trio of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah in the 64th minute, and Newcastle struggled to deal with their clever movement.

Adopting a shoot-on-sight policy as he chased his 20th league goal of the season, Salah hit the post and it was Mane who fired home in the 89th minute to round off the season in style for the Reds.

“We knew it was going to be tough, and we made it even more difficult for ourselves after I don’t know how many seconds. But we played well, second half was outstanding I think. Good to finish up the season on a high,” Van Dijk told BT Sport.

Villa survive with tense draw at West Ham

Aston Villa

IMAGE: Aston Villa's Jack Grealish scores their first goal. Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Reuters

Aston Villa preserved their Premier League status with a nerve-racking 1-1 draw at West Ham United on Sunday — a result that meant they finished one point above the relegation zone.

Captain Jack Grealish thought he had won it for Villa when he fired past Lukasz Fabianski in the 84th minute but West Ham hit back almost immediately through Andriy Yarmolenko.

With Bournemouth winning at Everton, Dean Smith’s Villa knew that defeat would send them down but they held on.

Villa had been in the bottom three since February until their midweek win over Arsenal left their fate in their own hands. While they could not grab the victory, Watford’s loss at Arsenal ensured a second successive season in the top flight.

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