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EPL: Arsenal move up to second, Spurs third, Manchester City seal final Champions League spot

Rohith Nair
FEATURED COLUMNIST
3.60K   //    15 May 2016, 19:31 IST
Olivier Giroud hat-trick Arsenal Aston Villa highlights
Olivier Giroud netted his first Premier League hat-trick against Aston Villa

A dramatic final day of the Premier League season saw all matches kick off at the same time – save for one. The game at Old Trafford between Manchester United and Bournemouth was abandoned following security concerns after a suspect package was found at the stadium. 

Arsenal finished second in the league after a 4-0 win over Aston Villa – thanks in part to Newcastle who beat Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 at St James Park. The result ensured Arsene Wenger has never finished below his north London rivals since taking over two decades ago.

Manchester City were held to a 1-1 draw at Swansea but the result will see City consolidate the fourth and final Champions League spot with United's goal difference too small to move past their neighbours. 

Arsenal 4-0 Aston Villa: Giroud grabs hat-trick

Before kickoff, Tomas Rosicky was presented with a silver cannon to commemorate the 10 years of service to the club. The Czech midfielder has been at the club since signing in 2006 and made his final appearance in the red-and-white of Arsenal. 

The home side took the lead against bottom-placed Villa when Olivier Giroud scored with a free header from near the penalty spot. It was Nacho Monreal who sent in a cross following an overlapping run. It was Giroud’s seventh headed goal in the league this season – the highest in the EPL. 

But the Gunners were guilty of being wasteful following the goal. A number of chances went abegging in the first half and it was the story at the start of the second half as well. But late in the second half, Olivier Giroud completed his hat-trick with two quick-fire goals.

The first goal saw Mesut Ozil grab his 19th league assist to allow Giroud to fire in from close range. The second saw Hector Bellerin carve open Villa’s defence with a delightful through ball that was put away by Giroud who was one-on-one with the goalkeeper. 

Mikel Arteta, also playing his last game in an Arsenal shirt, came on and saw Arsenal get a fourth goal. His effort came off the crossbar but went in off the back of the goalkeeper to give him a memorable send-off as Arsenal finished above Spurs yet again.

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Newcastle 1-5 Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs collapse against 10 men

Spurs Newcastle
Mauricio Pochettino’s side were soundly beaten on the last day

With Tottenham looking to finish above Arsenal for the first time in Arsene Wenger’s reign, they did not get off to a great start as relegated Newcastle opened the scoring. A cross from deep was sent into the box and it was first controlled by Moussa Sissoko who passed it to Mitrovic in the centre. The Serbian forward then took one touch before backing away, allowing Georginio Wijnaldum to finish past Hugo Lloris.

To make matters worse for Mauricio Pochettino, the Magpies soon doubled their lead. Six minutes before half-time, a Sissoko cross was fired home with a terrific header by Aleksandar Mitrovic. Lloris dived to his left but reacted too late to prevent the ball from hitting the back of the net.

Erik Lamela then gave the Spurs a lifeline when he fired in a goal at the far post to make the score 2-1. It seemed to go from bad to worse for Newacstle when Mitrovic received his marching orders after a stamp on Kyle Walker.

But Newcastle found a way back into the game with a third goal – a penalty from Wijnaldum. Jan Vertonghen was guilty of bringing down Sissoko in the box and Wijnaldum did the rest. 

Spurs’ season then sank to a new low when Newcastle fired in two goals in quick succession. Substitute Aarons scored first before Daryl Janmaat scored a fifth. 

The result consigned Spurs to third in the table as Arsenal leapfrogged them.


Swansea 1-1 Manchester City: Pellegrini qualifies for UCL in last game 

Iheanacho goal
Iheanacho opened the scoring for City

With the United game abandoned, the pressure was on City to get a result without the benefit of knowing what was going on at Old Trafford. In Manuel Pellegrini’s last match in charge, he started Iheanacho alongside Aguero. And the move paid off as it was Kelechi Iheanacho who opened the scoring as early as the fifth minute when he latched on to a rebound from a save at the near post.

However, city’s lead did not last long when Swansea found the equaliser through a free-kick, albeit with a little help from the City wall. Joe Hart seemed to have Andre Ayew’s free-kick covered but a deflection off Fernando’s head saw the ball head the other way and into the opposite corner of the net.

The second half did not see nay goals and the final scoreline read 1-0 – enough for Manchester City to seal fourth place barring a 19-goal win for Manchester United in the rescheduled match.


Other EPL results

Guard of Honour Stamford Bridge
Leicester City receive a guard of honour at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea 1-1 Leicester City: The game began with Chelsea players giving a guard of honour to Claudio Ranieri and his Foxes.  Guus Hiddink’s side took the lead from the penalty spot in the first half after Nemanja Matic was brought down by Jeffrey Schlupp inside the box. Cesc Fabregas stepped up and scored to make it 1-0 to the Blues.

However, Danny Drinkwater equalised with a long-range shot from 30 yards to find the bottom corner. Thibaut Courtois stood no chance of making the save.

Southampton 4-1 Crystal Palace

West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Liverpool

Everton 3-0 Norwich City

Stoke City 2-1 West Ham

Watford 2-2 Sunderland

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