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Man United and Chelsea secure Champions League spot

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26th July, 2020
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Manchester United and Chelsea have qualified for the European Champions League at the expense of Leicester on a frantic final day of the English Premier League season, while Bournemouth and Watford were relegated to end five-year stays in the top flight.

United won 2-0 at Leicester through goals by Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard to give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team a third-place finish on Sunday.

“I’m delighted. We’ve achieved a Champions League spot,” said the United boss, whose side were eight points behind fourth place when the league restarted after the coronavirus break in June.

“We’ve come from way, way behind teams and gone past them. We’ve shown that we’ve got the consistency, the right mentality.”

Chelsea beat Wolverhampton 2-0 after a goal and an assist by Mason Mount and finished in the fourth and final Champions League qualifying place above Leicester, who had been in the top four for most of the season.

Leicester, instead, will play in the Europa League along with Tottenham Hotspur, who drew 1-1 at Crystal Palace to secure sixth place – above Wolverhampton on goal difference.

The battle to avoid the two remaining relegation places went to the wire as Aston Villa scored in the 84th minute, conceded a minute later, then held on for 1-1 draw at West Ham to survive.

Captain Jack Grealish scored Villa’s goal in what could be his last game for his boyhood club.

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“I’m pleased, proud and every adjective to go with it. It is a proud moment and feels better than going up (from the Championship) last season,” Villa manager Dean Smith said.

“Condolences to Watford and Bournemouth. I can only imagine how they feel now.”

Bournemouth did what they had to do and beat Everton, 3-1, but ended up one point behind Villa.

“We were excellent today,” Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said.

“It’s a sad, painful feeling for me in my heart. It’s difficult when you feel like you’ve let people down.”

Watford were also relegated as the next-to-last team after losing 3-2 at Arsenal.

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Troy Deeney, Watford’s captain, hinted he may now leave the club.

“I have been here ten years, if it is my time to go, it is my time to go,” Deeney said on Sky Sports.

“I will take the stick on social media but the harsh reality is people will lose their jobs because we haven’t been good enough.”

Manchester City passed 100 goals for the campaign with a 5-0 win over last-placed and already demoted Norwich, a game that marked the last in the Premier League for David Silva after ten years with City. Kevin De Bruyne got a record-tying 20th assist of the season and also scored twice.

Liverpool ended their title-winning season with a 3-1 win at Newcastle and finished on a club-record 99 points.

Southampton beat Sheffield United 3-1, with Danny Ings scoring his 22nd goal of the season. That left him one behind Leicester’s Jamie Vardy, who won the Golden Boot as the league’s highest scorer.

© AAP