LONDON: The Premier League came a nerve-tingling conclusion as Arsenal secured the fourth and last qualifying slot for the Champions League and narrowly edged out north London neighbours Tottenham.
Elsewhere Sir Alex Ferguson retired at The Hawthorns where hosts West Bromwich Albion and his newly-crowned champions Manchester United shared the first 5-5 draw in the two decades of the Premier League.
Substitute Romelu Lukaku scored a hat-trick for Albion who were 3-0 down at one point.
Ferguson was not the only retirement of the day. Jamie Carragher was hailed at Anfield after his last game for Liverpool while there were final substitutions’ cameos from Paul Scholes (Manchester United) and Michael Owen (Stoke City).
Managerless Manchester City finished second (78 points) despite losing 3-2 at home to Norwich while new Europa League holders Chelsea (75 points) placed third after beating Everton 2-1 in a last game for both respective managers Rafa Benitez and Manchester United-bound David Moyes.
Everton finished sixth and thus two points and one place above Liverpool.
The Champions League duel saw both Arsenal and Tottenham win 1-0 which kept the Gunners one point ahead of their north London neighbours. Arsenal won at Newcastle with a 52nd-minute goal from Laurent Koscielny while Spurs finally overcame Sunderland with a superb 90th-minute strike from the inevitable Gareth Bale.
Tottenham, lucklessly denied Champions League access last season despite finishing fourth, missed out again despite attaining a club record Premier League tally of 72 points.
At the other end of the table Queens Park Rangers (25 points), Reading (28) and Wigan (36) had already been relegated before the day’s kickoffs. Sunderland were the last survivors, finishing on 39 points.
Manchester United’s Robin Van Persie’s finished as the league’s top scorer with 26 goals followed by Liverpool’s Luis Suarez on 23 and then Footballer of the Year Bale on 21.
** Yeovil Town beat Uwe Rosler’s Brentford 2-1 in the League One (third division) promotion play-off.