Liverpool Secure Fourth In Otherwise Meaningless Final Day
With only the final Champions League place to be confirmed, the Premier League entered its least interesting final day in recent years.
Arsenal needed to beat Everton and hope that Liverpool dropped points against already relegated Middlesbrough to ensure Arsene Wenger maintained his impeccable record of finishing in the top four.
The Gunners were excellent against Everton, recording a 3-1 victory, and probably wished they had performed in similar fashion all season. Hector Bellerin and Alexis Sanchez scored either side of Larent Koscielny’s sending-off, which needlessly increased the nerves around the Emirates Stadium. Romelu Lukaku then dispatched a penalty soon after half-time, only for Aaron Ramsey to wonderfully curl an effort into the top corner late on.
However, Liverpool’s comfortable 3-0 win against Boro means the Reds will enter next season’s Champions League, leaving Arsenal in their lowest league position since 1996. Jurgen Klopp’s side were lucky not to concede a penalty when Dejan Lovren felled Patrick Bamford early on, but goals from Georginio Wijnaldum, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana eventually earned them three important points.
Manchester City secured third place with an emphatic 5-0 win against Watford in Walter Mazzarri’s final game in charge of the Hornets. A Sergio Aguero brace and a goal each from Fernandinho and Vincent Kompany put the Citizens 4-0 up before half-time. Many expected the onslaught to continue after the break, but Gabriel Jesus netted just the one goal to round off a big win, but a poor season by Pep Guardiola’s standards.
Man City’s 5-0 wasn’t even the biggest score line on a day when goals were at a premium. Tottenham Hotspur demolished already-relegated Hull City 7-1, with Harry Kane helping himself to another hat-trick and the golden boot. Dele Alli, Victor Wanyama and Toby Alderweireld also found the net for Spurs, while Sam Clucas’ goal prompted the most ironic cheer of the day.
Spurs finished runners-up behind Chelsea, who culminated their title success with a 5-1 victory against bottom club, Sunderland. The Black Cats took a shock lead when Javier Manquillo scored his first senior goal, but normal service was soon resumed when goals from Willian, Eden Hazard and Pedro, along with a Michy Batshuayi brace, ensured the Blues went out in style.
The game could not go by without some cringeworthy-ness; John Terry was substituted in the 26th minute – the number of his shirt – and was given a guard of honour by his teammates as his trudged off the pitch. It later emerged that Terry had orchestrated the move himself in a fantastic display of self-worth, and – even worse – Sunderland boss David Moyes even agreed to it happening before the game, prompting an FA investigation. Moyes has since resigned after managing a mighty six victories this season.
With Wednesday’s Europa League final at the forefront of Jose Mourinho’s mind, the Manchester United manager fielded an almost entire academy-produced line-up against Palace. One of those products, Josh Harrop, netted on his Premier League debut before another (technically), Paul Pogba, was allowed to ghost into the penalty area and drive the ball through Wayne Hennessey’s legs.
Meanwhile, Swansea City ended their successful finish to the season with a 2-1 win against West Bromwich Albion. The Baggies led through Jonny Evans’ header, but Jordan Ayew and Fernando Llorente moved the Swans up to fifteenth.
West Ham United also came from behind to beat Burnley at Turf Moor. Sofiane Feghouli and Andre Ayew (coincidentally scoring in the exact same minute as his brother, Jordan) cancelled out Sam Vokes’ early goal.
Leicester City’s title defence never really began but they officially passed over the crown after their 1-1 draw against Bournemouth. Junior Stanislas scored in the first minute but Jamie Vardy equalised six minutes after half-time.
Finally, Peter Crouch headed in the only goal of the game against his former club Southampton to give Stoke City a narrow 1-0 win at St. Mary’s.