Gunners go fourth, United held
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
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
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
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
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
Yet it was not enough and they now go into the Europa
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
Three of West Brom’s goals came in a frantic last 10
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
Peter Crouch gave the Potters the lead two minutes into the
second half and Rickie Lambert levelled 10 minutes later for the
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
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