KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —-A dramatic finale to the longest league season in English football history ended with Liverpool and Manchester City completing their top-two finishes and being joined in next season’s Champions League by Manchester United and Chelsea.
United’s 2-0 victory at Leicester pushed the Foxes down into fifth place and they will be joined in the Europa League by Tottenham who pipped Wolves on goal difference courtesy of a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace. Wolves are still in this season’s Europa League and will qualify for next season’s competition only if Chelsea defeat Arsenal in the FA Cup Final next weekend.
At the other end of the table Aston Villa survived thanks to a 1-1 draw at West Ham sending Bournemouth and Watford back down into the second tier with long-doomed Norwich.
Liverpool recovered from conceding a first-minute goal to win 3-1 at Newcastle. The champions ended with 99 points and thus 18 points clear of Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola’s side, who still hold records for the most goals (100) and the largest top-flight winning margin, having ended the 2017-18 campaign 19 points ahead of runners-up Manchester United.
City thumped bottom club Norwich 5-0 and a 16th clean sheet provided goalkeeper Ederson with the Golden Glove award. Kevin de Bruyne scored twice – and also equalled Thierry Henry’s record for 20 assists – alongside further strikes from Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez.
Veteran playnaker David Silva made his 309th and final English top-flight appearance, after helping the club win 11 major trophies in 10 years.
Neighbours Manchester United finished third after winning 2-0 at Leicester and pushing the Foxes out of the top four. Bruno Fernandes converted from the penalty spot after 71 minutes with Jesse Lingard striking in stoppage time after Leicester had United ‘old boyt’ Jonny Evans sent off.
Leicester’s Jamie Vardy becomes the oldest player to end up as Premier top scorer with 23 goals.
The Foxes will be joined in the Europa League by Tottenham whose 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace, courtesy of Harry Kane’s seventh goal since the restart, lifted Jose Mourinho’s men above Wolves on goal difference.
Wolves lost 2-0 at Chelsea who returned to the Champions League in fourth place on two goals in first-half stoppage time from Mason Mount and Olivier Giroud.
Wolves will play in the Europa League next season after if Chelsea beat Arsenal in next weekend’s FA Cup Final.
At the foot of the table a 1-1 draw at West Ham was sufficient to extend Aston Villa’s Premier League stay with Bournemouth winning 3-1 in vain at Everton. Watford went down after losing 3-2 at Arsenal whose eighth-place finish was their poorest in 25 years.