Chelsea and Man United clinch Champions League football as Villa survive
The battle for European places and relegation survival went down to the wire in the Premier League on a frenetic final day of action.
It was joy at the full time whistle for Frank Lampard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as they steered their clubs into the Champions League in their first full seasons in charge. At the other end of the table, Aston Villa secured their Premier League status thanks to a goal from Jack Grealish in a 1-1 draw.
Chelsea’s two-goal first half lead over Wolverhampton Wanderers saw them go into the final 45 minutes of the season in third place, two points ahead of Manchester United in the final Champions League spot. Leicester had dropped into the Europa League places after spending so much of the season in the top three.
There was no further action at the top until United playmaker Bruno Fernandes slotted home a penalty midway through the second half to leave Leicester needing two goals to qualify. A late second from United substitute Jesse Lingard confirmed the three points for his side and resigned Leicester to Europa League football next season.
Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United will all qualify automatically for the group stages of the 2020/21 Champions League. If Wolves were to win the 2019/20 Europa League then they would become the fifth English team in next year’s competition.
At the bottom, Villa had climbed out of the relegation places with a hard-fought midweek victory over Arsenal and travelled to West Ham on the final day. Bournemouth went into the game in 19th but managed an impressive 3-1 victory over Everton to give themselves a fighting chance. Watford fell to a 3-2 defeat at Arsenal so Villa needed just a point to stay up.
A late goal from Jack Grealish was enough to confirm safety for his boyhood club in what could be his last appearance in claret and blue. West Ham scored a late equaliser but Dean Smith’s men held out to ensure survival.