Arsenal finish second after Tottenham collapse
Manchester City drew 1-1 at Swansea City to finish fourth in the Premier League and Arsenal overhauled their arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur to come second on a dramatic final day of the season yesterday.
After Manchester United’s game against Bournemouth was abandoned due to a security alert at Old Trafford, Arsenal crushed relegated Aston Villa 4-0 and Spurs capitulated 5-1 at 10-man Newcastle United to blow their chance of finishing above their neighbours for the first time since 1995.
Champions Leicester City drew 1-1 at Chelsea to end the campaign 10 points ahead of the chasing pack, another staggering achievement in a remarkable season for Claudio Ranieri’s team.
Manchester City needed a point to make sure of claiming the final Champions League qualifying spot but their game at Swansea started in a strange atmosphere caused by the events at Old Trafford.
Two stands were evacuated 20 minutes before kick-off and the game was abandoned shortly before the scheduled 1400 GMT start. A controlled explosion was later carried out on a suspect package.
Manchester City made the perfect start when Kelechi Iheanacho fired them ahead after five minutes.
Swansea equalised on the stroke of halftime through Andre Ayew’s deflected free kick and the visitors endured a few nervy moments in Manuel Pellegrini’s last match in charge before celebrating the point they needed.
Spurs, Leicester’s closest challengers in the last few weeks, endured a dismal afternoon at relegated Newcastle.
Georginio Wijnaldum and Aleksandar Mitrovic put the hosts 2-0 up at halftime before Erik Lamela pulled one back.
Mitrovic was shown a straight red card for a dangerous foul but Wijnaldum scored his second from the penalty spot and Rolando Aarons and Daryl Janmaat completed the scoring at St James’ Park.
Arsenal took an early lead against Villa through Olivier Giroud and the French striker added two late goals to complete his hat-trick before Mark Bunn’s stoppage-time own goal completed the rout.
Mikel Arteta, who along with Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky will leave the club shortly, was the architect of the own goal, sending a shot against the bar that bounced into the goal off Bunn.
An emotional Arteta left the pitch in tears after a game that added an unexpected gloss to a season marked by frustration at Arsenal’s failure to challenge for the title
For Villa, already relegated and destined to finish at the bottom of the table after a disastrous season, there was nothing but pride to play for before their focus shifts towards attempting to return from the Championship next season.
Cesc Fabregas’s second-half penalty for Chelsea looked set to condemn Leicester to only their fourth defeat of the season but Danny Drinkwater rescued a point for the champions with a stunning long-distance strike.
Southampton climbed to fifth with a 4-1 victory over FA Cup finalists Crystal Palace and West Ham United’s hopes of a top-six finish ended following a 2-1 loss at Stoke City. — Reuters.