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Manchester United and Chelsea seal top-four spots, Watford Relegated


Manchester United and Chelsea sealed Champions League places on Sunday as Bournemouth and Watford fell through the trapdoor on a dramatic final day of the longest Premier League season.

Liverpool were crowned champions last month but there was much to play for in the final 90 minutes of a campaign that started on 9 August last year and was interrupted by a three-month coronavirus shutdown.

United finished third after a nervy 2-0 win in a Champions League shootout against Leicester, while Chelsea ended in fourth spot after beating Wolves by the same scoreline at Stamford Bridge.

At the other end of the table, Bournemouth and managerless Watford followed already-relegated Norwich down to the Championship while Aston Villa fans breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Leicester, in fifth spot, will play in the Europa League next season where they will be joined by Tottenham, who drew 1-1 with Crystal Palace to leapfrog Wolves.

Wolves still have two routes to qualify for European competition next season — either into the Champions League by winning the Europa League next month or into the Europa League if Chelsea beat Arsenal in next week’s FA Cup final.

Chelsea required just a draw at Stamford Bridge to seal their place in the top four, but won all three points in first half stoppage time as Mason Mount whipped in from a free-kick before Olivier Giroud slid home.

A top-four finish and a Cup final in his first season in charge is a coup for Frank Lampard, who had to cope with a transfer ban and the loss of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid last summer.

“There were a lot of unknowns when I came in, could we move forward without Eden Hazard?” Lampard told Sky Sports.

“We knew we had lost a massive player. We’ve a real spirit within the group now and it’s a real team effort now.

“Myself and the staff want to improve every time — the challenge now is to see what more we can do next season.”

United, whose form has dipped in recent weeks after they pulled themselves back into contention for the Champions League, were locked at 0-0 at half-time at the King Power Stadium.

But they finally broke the deadlock in the 71st minute, when Bruno Fernandes scored from the penalty spot after Anthony Martial was upended. Jesse Lingard scored late to seal the win.