London: The English top flight witnessed Leeds United and Leicester City relegated from the Premier League to the Championship, marking a dramatic conclusion to the season.
Everton, always seen as the most likely among the three to avoid relegation, secured their Premier League status courtesy of Abdoulaye Doucoure’s spectacular 57th-minute goal. The strike ensured a 1-0 home win over Bournemouth and helped Everton avert their first relegation in nearly 70 years, reports Xinhua.
Leicester City, the miracle Premier League champions of 2016, are now Championship-bound, despite a 2-1 home win against West Ham United. Had Everton failed to secure a victory, Leicester City would have been safe.
Harvey Barnes and Wout Faes put Leicester 2-0 up against a rival seemingly preoccupied with their upcoming Europa Conference League final against Fiorentina. Although Pablo Fornals managed to score for West Ham in the 79th minute, Leicester clung on for a win that ultimately proved in vain.
Leeds United, the clear underdogs in the survival battle, needed a victory and slip-ups from their rivals. However, they must return to the Championship following a crushing 4-1 home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
Leeds never truly challenged in the game Tottenham won 4-1, with two goals from Harry Kane and one each from Pedro Porro and Lucas Moura. Jack Harrison’s solitary goal for Leeds merely provided a fleeting glimmer of hope.
However, Tottenham’s win didn’t guarantee them European football next season. Aston Villa, showing marked improvement under Unai Emery, secured seventh place with a 2-1 home win over Brighton.
Douglas Luiz and Ollie Watkins gave Aston Villa a 2-0 lead within just 26 minutes. Deniz Undav clawed a goal back for Brighton before half-time, but the visitors were unable to find the net in the second half.
Ethan Pinnock’s 85th-minute goal handed Brentford a 1-0 win over a heavily rotated Manchester City squad, with the latter preparing for their FA Cup and Champions League finals.
Arsenal vented their frustration over finishing second by delivering a 5-0 drubbing to Wolves, with Granit Xhaka scoring twice in his farewell to the Emirates Stadium.
Southampton bade farewell to the Premier League with a high-scoring 4-4 draw at home to Liverpool, with Diogo Jota bagging a brace for the visitors.
Chelsea and Newcastle ended the season with a 1-1 draw. Anthony Gordon’s early goal for Newcastle was negated by an own goal from Kieran Trippier. The draw draws a curtain on a disastrous season for Chelsea, while Newcastle finishes in fourth place after Manchester United’s 2-1 home win over Fulham.
Fulham’s Kenny Tete opened the scoring before Jadon Sancho and Bruno Fernandes turned the tables in favor of Manchester United.
In a match with little at stake, Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest drew 1-1.
On Saturday evening, Luton Town beat Coventry City in a penalty shootout to secure promotion to the Premier League, joining Burnley and Sheffield United in the top-flight next season.
Luton’s triumph marks a remarkable comeback journey for the club. They were relegated from the First Division in 1992 before plummeting as far as the Conference Premier (fifth tier of the English game) in 2009. After spending four seasons in non-league football, they returned to the Football League in 2014, and ascended to the Championship (second division) in 2019.