Three teams to chase two Champions League spots on EPL’s final day

July 24, 2020

FootballChampions League


Chelsea was too charitable as Anfield title party guests.

Before collecting the the Premier League trophy, Liverpool won 5-3 to prevent Chelsea from sealing a Champions League spot.

It leaves two of the four spots in Europe’s elite competition still up for grabs in Sunday’s final round of games.

Chelsea just needs a point against Europa League-chasing Wolverhampton to seal a top-four finish. And there will be a Champions League qualification showdown between Manchester United and Leicester.

For the first time since September, United is back in the top four and Leicester has dropped out after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side drew 1-1 with West Ham on Wednesday.

Liverpool as champions and second-place Manchester City have already qualified for the Champions League.

The title sealed last month, all that was at stake for Liverpool against Chelsea was preserving its unbeaten record in the league at home this season. It’s now 18 wins out of 19. The only dropped points were from a draw against Burnley in the previous home game.

Naby Keita’s thunderbolt of a shot, Trent Alexander-Arnold’s stunning dipping free kick and Gini Wijnaldum’s close-range strike sent Liverpool into a 3-0 led.

Olivier Giroud was able to pull one back before halftime after goalkeeper Alisson parried Willian’s shot into the striker’s path.

But Roberto Firmino waited until the final home game of the season to end his wait for a league goal at Anfield this campaign, heading in from Alexander-Arnold’s cross ten minutes into the second half.

Chelsea threatened a comeback when Christian Pulisic set up Tammy Abraham’s goal and got on the scoresheet himself, swivelling before striking into the net.

But Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain completed the job for Liverpool with a fifth goal in front of the Kop where the players later collected the trophy. The presentation took place on a podium placed where fans sat before the pandemic shut them out of stadiums.

One of the revelations for the season at Old Trafford has been 18-year-old forward Mason Greenwood who clinched the point against West Ham. A 17th goal of the campaign moved him level with George Best, Brian Kidd and Wayne Rooney as United’s top-scoring teenager in a season.

The goal cancelled out Michail Antonio’s penalty that was awarded after Paul Pogba’s handball. A point was still enough to secure Premier League survival for West Ham, which is led by former Manchester United manager David Moyes.

On the final day of the Championship season, West Bromwich secured a return to the Premier League after a two-year absence by drawing 2-2 with Queens Park Rangers.

The central England team joined champion Leeds in claiming the second automatic promotion spot ahead of Brentford.

Brentford still has a route into the Premier League for the first time via the playoffs where the west London team will play Swansea in the semifinals over two legs. Cardiff or Fulham will await in the final at Wembley Stadium next month.

The third tier awaits former Premier League sides Hull, Charlton and Wigan after they ended the season in the bottom three of the Championship. Wigan, however, is appealing against a 12-point deduction for being placed in administration a form of bankruptcy protection.

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