Chelsea clinch Champions League spots, as United stumble in Yorkshire - Soccer Times

Chelsea clinch Champions League spots, as United stumble in Yorkshire


The Premier League in gameweek 37 on Sunday focussed on the battle for the Champions League spots. Chelsea sealed their top-four position, as United’s hopes ended and Arsenal now have mission impossible to qualify for Europe’s elite competition next season. Here is what happened in Sunday’s vital games:

Chelsea beat Watford to clinch a top-four spot

Chelsea will be playing Champions League football again next season after beating Watford 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.

The visitors actually dominated the opening period, as the home side produced a lacklustre first half display. Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga produced a superb one-handed save from Troy Deeney’s looping header.

Gerard Deulofeu, Jose Holebas and Abdoulaye Doucoure also missed good opportunities and the home side capitalised on the misses in the second period. Three minutes into the second period, substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek finished Eden Hazard’s cross to ease the tension in Stamford Bridge.

The Blues doubled their lead just three minutes later, as David Luiz headed home from another Hazard cross. With 15 minutes left on the clock, the home side added a third, as Gonzalo Higuain latched on to a Pedro pass and fired home.

The victory saw Chelsea move up to third place in the table and book their place in the Champions League for next season. The game was a good warm-up for the Blues Europa League semi-final on Thursday night against Eintracht Frankfurt, which they are favourites to win.

Watford remain tenth-place in the table and their highest realistic position the Hornets can finish in is ninth-place. With an FA Cup final to come Javi Gracia’s side have enjoyed a good season.

United’s Champions League hopes end at the John Smiths Stadium

Manchester United’s hopes of claiming a Champions League spot for next season ended at Huddersfield, as the Terriers held the Red Devils to a 1-1 draw.

The visitors made a dream start on eight minutes. Scotland international Scott McTominay hit an effort from the edge of the area that somehow went through the arms of home goalkeeper Jonas Lossl. The Terriers goalkeeper really should have done better with the effort.

United seem to take their foot off the gas in the first half, maintaining possession. The only attempt of the first period from the visitors came from a superb Paul Pogba volley that smashed against the bar after good work from Juan Mata.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team were nearly punished for their profligacy in front of goal when Huddersfield’s top scorer Karlan Grant seized on a mistake by Phil Jones, only for David de Gea to come out and save at the striker’s feet.

United continued their rather pedestrian pace of play and the home side equalised on the hour mark. Lossl fired a long ball forward, United full-back Luke Shaw failed to clear and winger Isaac Mbenza advanced on goal before slotting the ball into the net through De Gea’s legs.

United desperately searched for a winner. However, Phil Jones and Marcus Rashford both missed good chances. Meanwhile Lossl produced a good save to deny young substitute, Tahith Chong.

United came close to regaining the lead with just two minutes left on the clock. However, Pogba’s powerful effort came back off the woodwork. In the end, the visitors just did have the quality or the determination to defeat the already doomed home side.

The draw means that Manchester United can no longer finish in the Champions League spots this season. The highest the Red Devils can finish in the top-flight is fifth-place.

Sunday’s other Premier League result

Arsenal 1-1 Brighton

Has Chelsea enjoyed a successful season?

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