There was plenty of overnight action on the last day of the Premier League season with 37 goals scored over the combined 10 fixtures.
While the title tilt had already been decided weeks prior, the main talking point on the final day was the last Champions League spot which was Liverpool’s to lose. If Liverpool failed to beat Middlesbrough at Anfield and Arsenal won their match against Everton, then Liverpool would finish outside of the top four.
Nerves began to come to the surface late in the first half at Anfield as fans became frustrated with the stalemate while knowing Arsenal led Everton at the Emirates. Georginio Wijnaldum eventually eased the nerves of the home fans in stoppage time of the first half when he burst into the box and unleashed a thunderous strike to the top right corner. Liverpool continued the job early in the second half when Philippe Coutinho produced yet another sumptuous free kick for his side before Adam Lallana stretched the lead out to 3-0 in the 56th minute. Feelings of relief were followed by proud celebrations as Liverpool signalled their return to the UEFA Champions League; albeit via a qualifying round; for just the second time in eight years.
Arsenal produced a solid performance over Everton as they ran out 3-1 victors despite losing Laurent Koscielny to a red card inside 15 minutes after a reckless tackle. Goals to Hector Bellerin, Alexis Sanchez and a contender for goal of the season from Aaron Ramsey were enough to see off the Toffees however Liverpool’s result meant they were left to rue a failed campaign as they miss out on the Champions League for the first time in two decades. With Koscielny suspended, doubt also hangs over the fitness of Alexis Sanchez who injured himself in the second half as well as centre-back Gabriel for the FA Cup Final against Chelsea this weekend.
Chelsea’s celebrations took a hit early in their clash with Sunderland as Javier Manquillo gave the bottom-placed side a shock lead after three minutes. Willian cancelled it out five minutes later and the scores remained level at half-time. John Terry started the match but was substituted to a guard of honour by his fellow teammates after 26 minutes (his jersey number). Eden Hazard and Pedro set the result in motion in the second half with Michy Batshuayi continuing his goal-scoring form of late to score a double in the last few minutes.
Tottenham’s lynchpin Harry Kane comfortably took home his second consecutive golden boot, with a career-best 29 goals for the season after he scored another three goals in his side’s 7-1 demolishing of Hull. Already relegated, Hull had nothing but pride to play for, however they were outclassed on every level as Spurs ran riot. Dele Alli and Victor Wanyama joined Kane on the scoresheet while defenders Ben Davies and Toby Alderweireld found their first goals of the season.
Manchester City were unstoppable at Watford’s Vicarage Road, smashing five past the Hornets as a Sergio Aguero double stole the show. Aguero has now reached 20 goals in four of his six Premier League seasons with Manchester City. Vincent Kompany’s header opened the scoring after 5 minutes as City displayed their intentions before Fernandinho took the half-time lead to 4-0. Gabriel Jesus added the fifth in the second half with his seventh goal in the league this season.
A highly inexperienced Manchester United outfit impressed in their 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace with a first half cameo by Paul Pogba that included an assist and a goal. 21 year-old debutant Josh Harrop produced a great finish after Pogba threaded the needle with a gorgeous outside-of-the-boot pass. Pogba notched a goal for himself shortly after and Palace struggled to hit back. Jose Mourinho decided to give a handful of young players first-team opportunities with the Europa League final coming up while Wayne Rooney potentially played his last league game in a Red Devils jersey.
The 2016 Champions Leicester finished in the bottom half of the table after they were held to a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth at the King Power Stadium while West Ham came from behind to defeat Burnley 2-1 at Turf Moor.
Swansea left it late to steal all three points at home to West Brom with Fernando Llorente the hero in a 2-1 win. Veteran striker Peter Crouch scored the only goal in an away victory for Stoke over Southampton.