Tuesday, May 24, 2022

MANCHESTER CITY ARE CHAMPIONS ! Citizens Overcome Early Deficit As Liverpool Also Wins; Spurs Cinch Champions League; Leeds Survives; Burnley Relegated; West Ham Loss Hands Europa Spot To Manchester United

Manchester City Captures Title

Manchester City overcame a two-goal deficit to surge past Aston Villa and capture its fourth Premier League title in the last five years. Aston Villa set the stage for final day drama in the title race when former Liverpool player Philippe Coutinho scored in the 69th minute to put the  league leaders at a two-goal disadvantage for a second consecutive match. Manager Pep Guardiola again made the necessary adjustments for his team to respond. Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, inserted as a substitute to play a forward role for only his fourth time under Guardiola, sparked the champions’ comeback. Gundogan scored twice, either side of a goal by Rodri, as City scored all three of its goals inside a six-minute span beginning at the 76-minute mark of the second half. The remarkable comeback established Manchester City as champions despite a 3-1 victory by Liverpool over Wolverhampton. Manchester City finished the season with 93 points, one more than Liverpool, while compiling a goal differential which exceeded the goals scored by 17 of the other 19 Premier League clubs.

Manchester City had already scored its third goal on Sunday before Mohamed Salah broke a 1-1 deadlock to put Liverpool ahead for the first time in the 84th minute at Anfield. Salah finished his league season in a tie with Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min for the Premier League’s Golden Boot.

An Andy Robertson’s goal five minutes later completed the scoring for the Reds. Liverpool remarkably chased Manchester City to the finish line by going undefeated at home this season and going unbeaten in 2022 league play. The Reds have one more match to play as they attempt to capture a third trophy of the season by winning the Champions League in Paris versus Real Madrid next Saturday. 

Spurs Clinch Champions League As Too Little Too Late For Arsenal

Tottenham Hotspur secured Champions League football for next season by rolling over Norwich 5-0 as Son Heung-min scored a brace in the Spurs rout to tie Mohamed Salah for the league scoring lead. Relegated Norwich failed to register a single shot on target. Spurs finished the season by winning four times in an undefeated five match run to leapfrog Arsenal into the top four in the season’s final weeks. The one draw during that run was with Liverpool and effectively cost Liverpool the league title. Dejan Kulusevski also scored a brace for Spurs on the final day. The addition of Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur, who had two assists versus the Canaries, from Juventus in January was instrumental to Spurs late season success. Manager Antonio Conte’s club was eighth in the table in late February before beginning its climb to the Champions League places. Participation in Europe’s top club tournament makes an extended stay in north London more enticing for Conte, Son and one-time wantaway star Harry Kane. Kane scored against the Canaries to finish with 17 goals on the season despite a miserable start to the campaign.

Arsenal finished its season with a 5-1 defeat of Everton. Everton had little interest in the match after ensuring its Premier League survival in a dramatic win over Crystal Palace on Thursday. Arsenal thus faced little opposition in snapping the two-match losing streak which cost the Gunners Champions League football for next season. Unlike Spurs, Arsenal did not reinforce its roster in January after culling several players and may rue fighting for the top four during the stretch run with a thinned roster. Despite late season disappointment the Gunners improved two places from last season’s finish and return to Europe to compete in next season’s Europa League.

Leeds Win Relegates Burnley


The relegation battle ended with Leeds and Manager Jesse Marsch securing their survival with a 2-1 victory at Brentford while Burnley lost 2-1 at home to Newcastle. Leeds needed to better Burnley’s result as the two clubs entered the final match day level on points but with Burnley holding a vastly superior goal differential. A tense match in Brentford saw Leeds’s Raphinha score the first goal on a penalty kick in the 56th minute. A tying goal by Brentford in the 78th minute was followed just two minutes later by a red card which reduced the Bees to 10 men. Leeds’s Jack Harrison scored the stoppage time winner against undermanned Brentford for Leeds’s first win in six matches.

Burnley was unable to match Leeds’s Sunday success and thus relinquished its hold on survival. The Clarets made things interesting when Maxwel Cornet cut Newcastle’s lead in half after two goals by the Magpies’ Callum Wilson. Burnley were unable to find the tying score, however, and even a point would have been insufficient given Leeds’s late winner. The Clarets’ seven year stay in the Premier League thus ends after a miserable season during which the club sacked iconic Manger Sean Dyche. Only Norwich scored fewer goals this season than the Clarets. Leeds, meanwhile, escaped relegation by capturing four points in their final two matches after losing three in a row. 

Hammer Fall Hands Europa To Manchester United

West Ham will not be returning to the Europa League after a 3-1 loss at Brighton. The Hammers squandered a one goal halftime lead to lose for a third time in their final five matches. A win would have moved the club into sixth position in the table past a Manchester United side which lost at Crystal Palace. West Ham Manager David Moyes expressed anger with his players after the match for bottling their chance to return to the Europa League, a competition where the Hammers advanced to the semifinals this past season. Instead, the Hammers will have to settle for the less prestigious Europa Conference League after a seventh-place league finish. West Ham captain Mark Noble played his last game in the Premier League after 414 appearances.

Victorious Brighton concluded a late season run where the Seagulls lost only to titlists Manchester City in winning five and drawing three of their last nine league matches to finish in the top half of the Premier League for the first time. Manchester United were the beneficiaries of West Ham’s defeat as the Red Devils secured Europa League qualification despite their 1-0 loss at Crystal Palace. The Eagles’ Wilfried Zaha scored the only goal of the match versus his former club. Manchester United lost a sixth consecutive away match as it finished with its lowest ever Premier League point total. New Manager Eric ten Hag was in the stands at Selhurst Park for a firsthand view of the challenge he faces. Crystal Palace, meanwhile, recovered from its disheartening loss at Everton on Thursday to finish a promising season on a positive note. The 12th place Eagles finished the season with a positive goal differential in the topflight for the first time since 1991.

Other Action...

Ross Barkly scored a stoppage time goal to give Chelsea a 2-1 victory over Watford. Relegated Watford had tied the match in the 87th minute before Barkley’s winning header. Third place Chelsea finished the season 19 and 18 points behind Manchester City and Liverpool, respectively. Leicester defeated Southampton 4-1 to cap a four-match unbeaten run to end its season. Ayoze Perez scored a brace for the Foxes. Jamie Vardy and James Maddison also scored for Leicester as Maddison ended his season by scoring in four consecutive matches.

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