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Premier League: Reds finish fourth, Spurs hold onto third
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 13 - 05 - 2018

LONDON, May 13, 2018 (News Wires) - After 38 exhilarating match days, the 2017-18 English Premier League season is over.On an epic final day, Spurs and Leicester played out a phenomenal encounter at Wembley while Mohamed Salah broke the record for most goals in a season as Liverpool destroyed Brighton 4-0 at Anfield.
The Reds needed a single point to secure fourth, but in the end it was all irrelevant as fifth plac ed Chelsea slumped to a shocking 3-0 loss to Newcastle.The Blues go without Champions League football next season as Spurs grab third and the Reds fourth.
Champions Manchester City missed nabbed one final record, becoming the first ever side to amass 100 points in a season owing to a late winner at Southampton.
Arsene Wenger went out with a win as a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang strike secured a 1-0 victory over Huddersfield.
While Swansea couldn't pull off an escape act, and they'll join West Brom and Stoke in the Championship next season.
LIVERPOOL 4-0 BRIGHTON
Liverpool cruised back into the Champions League next season by easing past Brighton 4-0 on Sunday as Mohamed Salah set a new Premier League record of 32 goals in a 38-game season.
Jurgen Klopp's men face Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 26, but will be back in the competition next season no matter what happens in Kiev.
Salah, Dejan Lovren, Dominic Solanke and Andy Robertson were on target at Anfield as Liverpool finished with a five-point advantage over fifth-placed Chelsea, who were beaten 3-0 at Newcastle.
SPURS 5-4 LEICESTER
Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane both struck twice at Wembley as Tottenham came from 3-1 down to beat Leicester 5-4 and hold off Liverpool to finish third.
Kane cancelled out Vardy's early opener before Riyad Mahrez restored Leicester's lead and Kelechi Iheanacho's smashed home a third for the visitors early in the second-half.
Erik Lamela scored twice and saw another effort deflect in off Christian Fuchs for an own goal to put Spurs in front before Vardy levelled with his 20th league goal of the campaign.
However, Kane had the final say with his 41st of the season to head to the World Cup in fine form.
HUDDERSFIELD 0-1 ARSENAL
Wenger is now out. Protesting Arsenal fans finally saw off Arsene Wenger on Sunday when the manager's 22-year reign ended with a 1-0 victory at Huddersfield. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the final scorer of the Wenger era, sliding in to convert Aaron Ramsey's cross in the 38th minute of the Frenchman's 1,235th game in charge.
There was something to celebrate at the climax to an otherwise miserably lackluster final season in charge, with Arsenal finishing sixth in the Premier League - the lowest under Wenger.
A plane flew over the John Smith's Stadium, carrying a message for the most successful manager in Arsenal history who won the title in 1998, 2002 and 2004.
Gone were the "Wenger out" taunts that followed him in recent years. Instead, the message in the skies read "Merci Arsene, we will miss you too" in response to Wenger's goodbye speech last week at the Emirates Stadium. But another message trailed from a plane toward the end of the game in northern England, one blaming owner Stan Kroenke for Arsenal's failure to win the title since 2004: "Kroenke - you're next." The American sports tycoon, who has owned Arsenal since 2011, is yet to announce Wenger's successor.
The 68-year-old Wenger is yet to disclose his future plans after abruptly leaving Arsenal with a year remaining on his contract.
"I am sad," Wenger said. "I wish everybody well and thank everybody. The fans have been great until the end. I just want to wish this group of players well and the staff who are coming in. I will remain an Arsenal fan above all. "I see a bright future for my successor because the team has a good attitude and has quality. We need two or three additions and after that I believe the team will compete for the Premier League."
NEWCASTLE 3-0 CHELSEA
Chelsea's failure to qualify for next season's Champions League was confirmed as they completed a disappointing Premier League campaign by collapsing to a dismal 3-0 defeat at Newcastle United on Sunday.
In what is widely expected to be Chelsea manager Antonio Conte's final league game in charge, Ayoze Perez scored twice after Dwight Gayle's opener, and the below-par Blues had to settle for finishing fifth.
That condemns them to a place in the less prestigious Europa League next season. Victory at St James' Park allied to a final-day defeat for Liverpool would have seen Chelsea snatch fourth, and while they failed in their task, it was rendered academic as Jurgen Klopp's Champions League finalists ran out comfortable winners against Brighton.
Conte's side still have the incentive of silverware to play for when they face Manchester United in the FA Cup final next Saturday.
But they go into that game with a continuing question mark over their Italian coach following their failure to qualify for Europe's premier club competition, their points tally 23 less than in their title-winning season 12 months ago.
This could also have been a final game in charge for Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez, with the Spaniard's future in doubt pending key talks with the club's owner Mike Ashley in the next week.
If this was to be farewell for the former Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid head coach, his players gave him a rousing send-off, as Perez struck twice after the break to add to Gayle's first-half opener to confirm an impressive 10th-place finish in their first season back in the top flight.
Chelsea, who made eight changes from the side held 1-1 at Stamford Bridge by lowly Huddersfield Town in midweek, looked ill-at-ease from the first whistle.
They were fortunate to be just a single goal down at the interval as the hosts produced some of their finest football of the campaign.
The Belgian international prevented N'Golo Kante from inadvertently deflecting Matt Ritchie's cross into his own net, but was unable to stop Gayle giving his side a deserved 23rd-minute lead.
From Ritchie's cross, Courtois blocked Jacob Murphy's looping close-range effort, only to be beaten by Gayle's headed follow-up, the forward's sixth goal of the season.
Shelvey should have doubled the advantage when firing badly wide from the edge of the area, Perez then dragging a shot wide from a centre by Gayle, who came close to claiming a second when Courtois beat out his fierce low shot as the visitors somehow held on.
With Conte cutting a largely disconsolate figure on the sidelines, it took his side more than 50 minutes to muster a threat of note, keeper Martin Dubravka expertly tipping over Olivier Giroud's looping effort from Ross Barkley's cross.
It proved to be a rare threat, and they were soon further in arrears as Perez, lurking in the six-yard box, touched home Shelvey's shot for the second.
Dubravka produced an improbable save with his feet to deny Barkley before Perez tapped home Florian Lejeune's inviting 63rd-minute knock-down to leave Chelsea in tatters.
SOUTHAMPTON 0-1 MANCHESTER CITY
Manchester City became the first Premier League side to reach 100 points as the champions capped their memorable season in style thanks to a 1-0 win at Southampton on Sunday.
Pep Guardiola's side have been focused on rewriting the record books since clinching the English title almost a month ago and they added one last landmark achievement on the final day of the season.
Gabriel Jesus struck with virtually the last kick at St Mary's to take City to the century mark in suitably dramatic fashion.
Guardiola's wild celebration with his backroom staff showed what it meant to the Spaniard for City to achieve yet another incredible feat.
City's 100-point haul comes after they set a new Premier League points record by beating Brighton in midweek, taking them past the total set by Chelsea in 2004-05.
They have also scored the most goals in a single Premier League campaign (106), won the most games (32) and amassed the most consecutive victories (18) in a season that has seen them ranked along with the best teams in the history of English football.
City finished 19 points clear of second placed Manchester United -- the biggest title-winning margin in the Premier League era -- to emphasis the gap between the runaway champions and the chasing pack.
Fortunately for fourth bottom Southampton, the defeat didn't matter in their battle to avoid relegation as third bottom Swansea lost against Stoke, ensuring Mark Hughes' side avoided the drop by three points.
City are due to celebrate their title success with an open-top bus parade through the streets of Manchester on Monday.
But they had no intention of letting the impending party distract them on the south-coast.
City controlled first-half possession before Saints defender Wesley Hoedt headed against Claudio Bravo's crossbar from a Dusan Tadic corner.
Guardiola's men pushed hard in the second half and Raheem Sterling struck the righthand post with a deflected effort before John Stones' header from the resultant corner was tipped over by Alex McCarthy.
Guardiola introduced youngsters Brahim Diaz and Phil Foden late on, ensuring both players have registered five appearances to earn a Premier League medal -- with Foden becoming the youngest ever winner at 17 years and 350 days old.
The game appeared to heading for a draw but, six years to the day since Sergio Aguero's last-second title-winning goal for City against QPR, Jesus found space in the final moments to lift the ball over McCarthy and spark mayhem among the travelling fans
MANCHESTER UNITED 1-0 WATFORD
Manchester United sent off Michael Carrick a winner as the Red Devils secured a 1-0 win over Watford in their final match of the season.
Marcus Rashford scored the lone goal in the match with the Old Trafford side finishing second on a total points tally of 81 - 19 behind champions Manchester City.


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