Man Utd, Chelsea seal top-four spots as Watford, Bournemouth relegated

first_imgChelsea come good Chelsea required just a draw at Stamford Bridge to seal their place in the top four, but won all three points in first half stoppage time as Mason Mount whipped in from a free-kick before Olivier Giroud slid home.A top-four finish and a Cup final in his first season in charge is a coup for Frank Lampard, who had to cope with a transfer ban and the loss of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid last summer.”There were a lot of unknowns when I came in, could we move forward without Eden Hazard?” Lampard told Sky Sports. “We knew we had lost a massive player. We’ve a real spirit within the group now and it’s a real team effort now.”Myself and the staff want to improve every time — the challenge now is to see what more we can do next season.”United, whose form has dipped in recent weeks after they pulled themselves back into contention for the Champions League, were locked at 0-0 at half-time at the King Power Stadium.But they finally broke the deadlock in the 71st minute, when Bruno Fernandes scored from the penalty spot after Anthony Martial was upended. Jesse Lingard scored late to seal the win.The result is a huge lift for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whose team were 14 points behind the Foxes at the start of the year, but is a bitter blow for Brendan Rodgers, whose side have been camped in the top four for almost the entire campaign.”I’m delighted,” said Solskjaer. “We’ve come from way, way behind teams and gone past them. We’ve shown that we’ve got the consistency, the right mentality. We’re building a group and a performance culture here that we can be proud of.” At the other end of the table, Bournemouth and managerless Watford followed already-relegated Norwich down to the Championship while Aston Villa fans breathed a huge sigh of relief.Leicester, in fifth spot, will play in the Europa League next season where they will be joined by Tottenham, who drew 1-1 with Crystal Palace to leapfrog Wolves.Wolves still have two routes to qualify for European competition next season — either into the Champions League by winning the Europa League next month or into the Europa League if Chelsea beat Arsenal in next week’s FA Cup final. Manchester United and Chelsea sealed Champions League places on Sunday as Bournemouth and Watford fell through the trapdoor on a dramatic final day of the longest Premier League season.Liverpool were crowned champions last month but there was much to play for in the final 90 minutes of a campaign that started on August 9 last year and was interrupted by a three-month coronavirus shutdown.United finished third after a nervy 2-0 win in a Champions League shootout against Leicester, while Chelsea ended in fourth spot after beating Wolves by the same scoreline at Stamford Bridge. ‘Incredibly painful’ Two goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and a strike by Kieran Tierney gave Watford, who sacked Nigel Pearson earlier this month, an almost impossible task at Arsenal.A Troy Deeney penalty and a Danny Welbeck strike gave them hope but it was not enough and the Hornets were relegated after five years in the top-flight following their 3-2 defeat. “This is a reflection of the whole year,” Deeney told Sky Sports. “Not quite been good enough. Heartbreaking for the people who work behind the scenes and we feel sorry for them.”Bournemouth beat Everton 3-1 at Goodison Park but needed West Ham to beat Aston Villa to survive.Andriy Yarmolenko equalized after Jack Grealish’s late goal for Villa but the away side held on, sending Eddie Howe’s side down after five seasons in the Premier League.”It’s incredibly painful — we always believed we were capable of a last-minute escape,” Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe told the BBC.An early goal by Harry Kane put Tottenham in front against Crystal Palace. Palace equalized early in the second half through Jeffrey Schlupp but the point was enough for Jose Mourinho’s men to finish in sixth position.Liverpool beat Newcastle 3-1 to finish the season on 99 points — the second-highest tally in English top-flight history behind only Manchester City’s 100 points in 2017/18.Second-placed City finished the campaign with a flourish, thumping Norwich 5-0 to reach 102 goals with Kevin De Bruyne scoring twice and matching Thierry Henry’s record of 20 assists in a Premier League season.Elsewhere, Brighton beat Burnley 2-1 and Southampton beat Sheffield United 3-1.Leicester’s Jamie Vardy won the Golden Boot with 23 goals, one clear of Aubameyang and Southampton’s Danny Ings. Topics :last_img read more

Di Maria scores twice as PSG beat Real

first_imgRelatedPosts EPL: Son fires four past Southampton Bale completes Tottenham return from Real Madrid Tottenham sign £25m Sergio Reguilon Angel Di Maria scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain recorded a 3-0 win over Real Madrid in Wednesday night’s Champions League clash in the French capital. Los Blancos would have been looking to start their Group A campaign with a positive result at the Parc des Princes, but PSG had other ideas as they collected all three points with an impressive victory on home soil. Di Maria scored twice in the first period for the Ligue 1 champions before Thomas Meunier added a third in second-half stoppage time on a tough night for Zinedine Zidane’s side, who had two goals disallowed. PSG were without the services of Neymar through suspension, while Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani were also absent through injury, meaning that summer arrival Mauro Icardi led the French side’s line. Madrid were also without a key player in the shape of captain Sergio Ramos, but a strong front three included Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale with the pair supporting the in-form Karim Benzema. After a fairly slow start to proceedings, PSG made the breakthrough in the 13th minute when Juan Bernat’s low cross was poked into the back of the net by Di Maria. The Argentina international’s effort came quickly at Thibaut Courtois, but the Madrid stopper will surely have felt that he should have done more in an attempt to prevent the ball from flying past him. Hazard looked to answer back shortly after as the Belgian found space in a dangerous position before attempting to pick out the bottom corner, but the ball just flew wide of Keylor Navas’s post. James Rodriguez then fired high and wide before Benzema headed a Bale cross past the post as the visitors looked to respond inside the first 25 minutes in the French capital. Zidane’s side had another opportunity in the 32nd minute from a free kick in a dangerous position, but Bale saw his effort just dip over Navas’s crossbar at the final moment. PSG doubled their lead moments later with the impressive Di Maria picking out the corner from distance after being found by Idrissa Gueye in a dangerous position. Madrid thought that they were back in the match two minutes later as Bale managed to lift the ball over the PSG goalkeeper with a clever finish from distance. However, the goal was disallowed by referee Anthony Taylor for handball following a VAR check, much to the delight of the home supporters.Tags: Angel di MariaChampions LeagueEden HazardEdinson CavaniGareth BaleKarim BenzemaKylian MbappeParis Saint-GermainReal MadridThomas Muenerlast_img read more

Mertesacker: Gunners must focus

first_img The Gunners looked to be closing out a hard-earned 2-0 win at Selhurst Park on Saturday, only for a scrambled effort by Glenn Murray in stoppage time to set up a frantic finale before the substitute almost snatched a dramatic draw when his flying header came back off the base of a post. A fifth victory from their last six league matches moved Arsenal back above both Manchester United, who lost at Swansea, and Southampton, set to host Liverpool later on Sunday, to maintain momentum ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League last 16 first leg showdown with Monaco. Defender Per Mertesacker has challenged Arsenal to learn quickly from their warning at Crystal Palace to avoid any more costly lapses in concentration and stay in the Barclays Premier League top four. However, so long as the third goal remained elusive, the Eagles sensed there remained life in the match and were driven on by the energy of substitute Yannick Bolasie. Dwight Gayle sent a bullet header just over before Jason Puncheon was unfortunate to see his 20-yard free-kick drop wide. Murray’s scrambled close-range effort in the third of five minutes of added time set up a tense finale, which was almost a rounded off with the latest of equalisers as his diving header struck the base of David Ospina’s left-hand post. Palace certainly look a well-organised outfit under new boss Alan Pardew, and have a five-point cushion above the bottom three ahead of next weekend’s trip across to east London at West Ham. Murray, though, could not help but reflect on what might have been. “We pushed Arsenal all the way, and we were unlucky not to get something out of the game. It was a close one, some days they go in and others they don’t, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be,” the striker said, quoted on the club’s official website. “We proved to ourselves that we can compete with these sides and we were unlucky not to get anything from the game. “We have got a lot of (good) results when the gaffer first came in and I’m sure that’ll happen again. “We have got to take the positives out of the game and can now take confidence from it.” Mertesacker, currently captaining the side with Mikel Arteta still out injured, accepts Arsenal must retain focus at the back if they are to build on the positive work since the turn of the year. “At the end they tried to put us under pressure and get some strikers on. They nearly scored the equaliser so we were a bit lucky,” the German said, quoted by “Sometimes you lose games, especially at the end, but that was a bit of a warning for us not to switch off too early. “Overall, though, we are absolutely delighted with the three points and we move on.” Arsenal had taken an early lead through a penalty from Santi Cazorla after Danny Welbeck had been tripped by Pape Souare, which the Palace bench protested happened just outside the area. It was 2-0 on the stroke of half-time when Welbeck ran across the backline and onto a through ball from Alexis Sanchez. The assistant referee’s flag stayed down, as the England forward went on to drive in an angled shot which Julian Speroni palmed out and Olivier Giroud gratefully lashed into the net for his 50th Arsenal goal. Despite all of Palace’s pressure, Arsenal remained dangerous on the break, with a looping header from Mesut Ozil hitting the top of the crossbar before Sanchez dragged his side wide when played into the left side of the penalty box. Press Associationlast_img read more