Gunners go fourth, United held
Sun, 19 May 2013 18:30:00
Fernando Torres scored the winner to allow Rafa Benitez to end with a win as Chelsea beat Everton 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.
The victory, after Juan Mata and Steven Naismith traded goals, ensured Chelsea secured third spot in the Premier League and meant David Moyes' spell in charge at Everton ended in defeat.
Chelsea had the first chance of the game through Demba Ba and the Senegal striker had a role in the opener moments later when Tim Howard could only parry his shot into the path of Mata.
If that was supposed to settle the home side it did not work as Everton piled on the pressure and the visitors soon had their equaliser after just a quarter of an hour.
David Luiz miscontrolled an interception and Naismith found Victor Anichebe who did well to play his team-mate in on goal with a reverse pass before the Scot did the rest with a neat dinked finish.
The Toffees almost took the lead in comical fashion soon afterwards when Darron Gibson's deflected shot ricocheted off the post into the face of Petr Cech and back onto the woodwork.
Torres and Kevin Mirallas should each have done better with good chances before Steven Pienaar curled just over the top of the bar as the two teams traded blows in an open game.
After the break it was Chelsea that stepped things up as they took charge of the contest with Howard saving well from Gary Cahill before Branislav Ivanovic should have done better.
Everton were rattled with Phil Jagielka losing the ball to give Ba a chance that Sylvain Distin did well to block, before the England man redeemed himself with a fine challenge to deny Cahill soon after.
Nikica Jelavic replaced Naismith midway through the second half and could have put Everton ahead soon after only to divert Leighton Baines' centre just wide of the far post when unmarked.
It proved costly when Victor Moses showed far better composure at the other end to head down for Torres to lash the winner past Howard and score his first Premier League goal since December.
Jelavic went close twice more but Everton could not find an equaliser so it was Benitez and not Moyes who would get to bow out with a win.
With the title already secured by United and relegation matters settled in midweek, the settling of European issues was the main focus of the day.
A 1-0 win for Arsenal at St James' Park saw Arsene Wenger continue his proud record of Champions League qualification in every season at the club, but Tottenham ensured a nailbiting finale when the irrepressible Gareth Bale fired Spurs ahead with a 25-yard strike in the closing seconds.
A Newcastle equaliser in the dying seconds against Arsenal would have seen Spurs leapfrog their rivals into fourth but it never materialised.
Chelsea, who started the day with the chance of a play-off with the Gunners for third place, avoided that fate with a 2-1 home win over Everton.
And on a day where 36 goals were scored in the top flight, Ferguson saw 10 of them in his final game before retirement as champions United drew 5-5 in a breathless encounter with West Brom at The Hawthorns.
Arsenal fought out a first-half stalemate against Newcastle but grabbed the all-important winning goal in the 52nd minute when Laurent Koscielny hooked home from close range following a free-kick from the right.
Tottenham saw strong penalty appeals turned down, shots cleared off the line and woodwork rattled before Bale - who had earlier been booked for diving when he looked to have been fouled in the area - curled in a sensational winner following David Vaughan's red card.
Yet it was not enough and they now go into the Europa League.
Chelsea's confirmed third place in Rafael Benitez's last game in charge when his fellow Spaniards Juan Mata and Fernando Torres scored either side of Toffees midfielder Steven Naismith.
Ferguson, meanwhile, can rarely have seen a game in his 26 years at United like the one that unfolded at The Hawthorns.
Shinji Kagawa, Alex Buttner and a Jonas Olsson own-goal put United 3-0 up after half an hour, while Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez also hit the target on Ferguson's big day.
But a Romelu Lukaku hat-trick teamed with efforts from James Morrison and Youssouf Mulumbu ensured the Baggies a share of the spoils.
Three of West Brom's goals came in a frantic last 10 minutes.
Jamie Carragher's final match for Liverpool before retirement ended in a 1-0 win over QPR, who finish bottom of the league.
Philippe Coutinho grabbed the winner with a fine 23rd-minute strike but Carragher, goalless since 2006, almost grabbed the spotlight when he hit the woodwork in the second half.
Carragher's former Liverpool and England team-mate Michael Owen also played the last match of his storied career but a 16-minute cameo in Stoke's 1-1 draw at Southampton was not one to remember.
Peter Crouch gave the Potters the lead two minutes into the second half and Rickie Lambert levelled 10 minutes later for the Saints.
Managerless Manchester City ended a disappointing season with a 3-2 home defeat to Norwich.
One of Roberto Mancini's much-maligned summer signings, Jack Rodwell, twice equalised for City but goals from Anthony Pilkington, Grant Holt and Jonny Howson won it for the Canaries.
West Ham beat the Canaries to a top-half finish with a 4-2 win over relegated Reading.
Kevin Nolan claimed a hat-trick and Ricardo Vaz Te also netted, while Garath McCleary and Adam Le Fondre ensured the Royals did not go down without a fight.
FA Cup winners Wigan are also bound for the npower Championship but they added one final point to their tally with a 2-2 draw against Aston Villa.
Darren Bent, on a rare start, had put Villa ahead before Emmerson Boyce's header and a Nathan Baker own-goal gave the Latics a sniff of victory.
Ron Vlaar snuffed out those hopes in the 61st minute.
Fulham shook off some questionable form to inflict a 3-0 defeat on Swansea, Alex Kacaniklic, Dimitar Berbatov and Urby Emmanuelson on the scoresheet for the Cottagers.
Prem results: Chelsea 2 Everton 1, Liverpool 1 QPR 0, Manchester City 2 Norwich 3, Newcastle 0 Arsenal 1, Southampton 1 Stoke 1, Swansea 0 Fulham 3, Tottenham 1 Sunderland 0, West Brom 5 Manchester United 5, West Ham 4 Reading 2, Wigan 2 Aston Villa 2.