With two spots remaining and three teams competing for a place in the Champions League, the possibilities were endless, and fans were most definitely treated to a surprise Sunday afternoon. Liverpool, Manchester City, and Arsenal all needed to pick up points to have a chance at the prestigious Champions League tournament, but one had to eventually finish below, and it was Arsenal who had to accept failure.
Manchester City Puts Five Past Watford
Manchester City needed to win this match if they wanted to keep their hopes alive for Champions League, and they did just so in what was a one-sided match. Within the first half alone, Manchester City put four goals past Watford, with the opening goal coming from captain Vincent Kompany, two for Aguero, one for Fernandinho, and the final one coming past half time coming from Gabriel Jesus.
Liverpool Score Three to Get Champions League Spot for the First Time Since 2013-14
Liverpool, who have had an outstanding season, thanks to manager Jurgen Klopp, led the way to a 3-0 victory at home vs Middlesbrough. The first half was quite intense as already relegated side Middlesbrough held up their heads high and almost forced a scoreless first half until Wijnaldum scored in injury time to secure what was almost a Champions League spot. After halftime, it felt like a walk in the park as Coutinho and Lallana both added back to back goals within five minutes. Liverpool has finished fourth in the Premier League table and will be playing two-legged qualifiers for a spot in Europe’s Champions League.
Arsenal’s 3-1 Victory vs. Everton Not Good Enough
Unfortunately, to the dismay of Arsenal fans, their hopes were rested upon Middlesbrough as Arsenal needed Liverpool to either draw or lose to force a spot in the Champions League for Arsenal. However, Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over Everton was not enough and Arsenal have finished fifth in the Premier League. They will be playing Europa League football next season instead of their usual Champions League. The last time recorded when Arsenal finished outside top four was in the 1995-96 season, the season before Arsene Wenger became the manager.
Arsenal opened the scorebook early with a Hector Bellerin goal thanks to an impressive Mesut Ozil assist from the edge of the box. Sanchez soon responded with his 24th goal of the season, going into half-time at 2-0. The biggest shock had to come in the 14th minute when captain Laurent Koscielny was sent off. That left a big hole in the Arsenal defense for Everton to counter-attack, but were never able to find the goal.
After half time, Romelu Lukaku was able to score a penalty due to a Nacho Monreal handball, but since then, it was Arsenal who took charge. Aaron Ramsey managed his first Premier League goal of the season from a beautiful strike from the edge of the box curling into the top corner of the net. Unfortunately, it all went to waste as Liverpool’s 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough ended Arsenal’s Champions League hopes.