Arsenal victory does little to lift Wenger’s spirits
Arsene Wenger’s torrid year reached a calamitous climax as Arsenal failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years after Manchester City and Liverpool wrapped up the remaining top four places on the final day of the English Premier League season yesterday.
Wenger’s side won 3-1 against Everton, but Liverpool’s 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough and Manchester City’s 5-0 demolition of Watford pushed Arsenal out of Europe’s elite.
After reaching the Champions League for the last 19 seasons, Arsenal will spend next term trekking around the unglamorous outposts of the Europa League.
That indignity will cost Arsenal an estimated £50-million (R863-million) in revenue and increase the pressure on Wenger, who has endured a miserable season filled with fan protests and calls for his resignation.
The Frenchman, who has yet to reveal if he will sign a new contract to extend his 21-year reign, could still finish the season with silverware as Arsenal face Chelsea in FINAL LOG the FA Cup final on Saturday. Arsenal were condemned to finishing fifth after Liverpool eased into the Champions League for the first time since 2014-15.
Liverpool finished fourth and will enter the Champions League playoff round next season.
“It’s a big relief. A club like Liverpool needs to be in the Champions League,” Reds boss Jurgen Klopp said.
At Vicarage Road, City wrapped up third place and automatic entry into the Champions League group stages.
Harry Kane finished as the league’s leading scorer for the second successive year as the Tottenham striker’s hat-trick took him to 29 goals and inspired a 7-1 win at Hull.
John Terry was given an emotional send-off as Chelsea beat Sunderland 5-1 before hoisting the league trophy.
Terry captained Chelsea on his farewell appearance at Stamford Bridge ahead of his post-season departure.
Blues boss Antonio Conte paid a fitting tribute to Terry, taking him off in the 26th minute – matching his shirt number – and Chelsea’s players formed a guard of honour as he walked off to a standing ovation.
Jose Mourinho named Manchester United’s youngest ever league starting lineup, with an average age of 22 years and 284 days, and the youngsters rose to the occasion with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.
With United due to face Ajax in the Europa League final on Wednesday, Mourinho made no attempt to conceal his desire to keep his key players fresh for the Stockholm showpiece.
United must win the Europa League to qualify for next season’s Champions League.