LONDON: Before the last matchday of the Premier League, Chelsea F.C., Liverpool F.C. and Leicester City F.C. were in fierce competition to finish in the top 4 (The teams that finish in the top 4 of the Premier League are awarded spots in the UEFA Champions League the following season). However, only 2 of the 3 teams would be able to do so. Although Liverpool and Leicester had started the season in far better form than Chelsea, the latter was, with 67 points, in 3rd place, ahead of both the other teams preceding the final matchday of the season. Liverpool were 4th and Leicester 5th, both teams with 66 points (Liverpool were ahead on goal difference. They had a goal difference of 24, whereas Leicester’s was 20).
Liverpool F.C. vs Crystal Palace F.C. 2-0:
Liverpool easily won their final match of the season, against Crystal Palace F.C., with 2 goals scored by Sadio Mané (one in the 36th minute and one in the 74th minute).
Leicester City F.C. vs Tottenham Hotspur F.C. 2-4:
However, Leicester (faced Tottenham Hotspur F.C.) and Chelsea (faced Aston Villa F.C.) did not find their games so easy. Leicester scored early in the match, 18 minutes after kickoff, with a penalty from Jamie Vardy. Unfortunately for them, though, Harry Kane equalized for Tottenham in the 41st minute (that goal sent him ahead of Mohamed Salah in the rankings for the Golden Boot award). Vardy once again gave Leicester the lead from the penalty spot, this time in the 52nd minute. Kasper Schmeichel scored an own goal following a corner from Son Heung-min in the 76th minute of the match. That goal shattered Leicester’s Champions League hopes. Liverpool was winning their match, and although Chelsea was losing 2-1, a draw from Leicester would not be enough to take them ahead of The Blues, unless Chelsea lost by three goals or more. Gareth Bale completely shattered Leicester’s hopes of finishing in the top 4 by giving Tottenham the lead in the 87th minute, and then extending it in the 6th minute of stoppage time. The game ended 2-4 in favor of Tottenham.
Aston Villa F.C. vs Chelsea F.C. 2-1:
Although it was possible for Chelsea to finish in the top 4 with a draw or even a loss, a victory would guarantee them a spot in the Champions League next season. But as Chelsea failed to take advantage of this opportunity, Bertrand Traoré opened the scoring, with a goal in the 43rd minute for Aston Villa. Anwar El Ghazi scored a second goal for Aston Villa, from the penalty spot in the 52nd minute. Although Ben Chilwell got one back for Chelsea in the 70th minute, Chelsea finishing in the top 4 seemed unlikely, as Liverpool and Leicester were both winning their games, which meant that they would finish 2nd and 3rd. The game ended 2-1 in favor of Aston Villa. Fortunately for Chelsea, Leicester had conceded 2 goals late in their game, and as a result of Leicester’s defeat, Chelsea finished 4th.
===================================================================== The positions of the top 5 teams after their last games of the season ===================================================================== Club Club Matches Goal Points Position Played Difference ===================================================================== 1 Manchester City F.C. 38 51 86 2 Manchester United F.C. 38 29 74 3 Liverpool F.C. 38 26 69 4 Chelsea F.C. 38 22 67 5 Leicester City F.C. 38 18 66 =====================================================================
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