Arsenal, Wenger fail to make Champions League after 20 years
ABS-CBN Sports on May 22, 2017 10:30 AM
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks dejected during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Everton at The Emirates stadium in London, Sunday May 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer
LONDON (AP) — Arsene Wenger's proud record is over: Arsenal has failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years.
Arsenal's hope of squeezing into the Premier League top four relied on Liverpool or Manchester City slipping up, but they both won easily on Sunday to join Chelsea and Tottenham in entering the Champions League.
So even though Arsenal beat Everton 3-1 to complete the league campaign with five successive wins, the resurgence came too late and Wenger had to settle for fifth — the lowest finish since taking charge of the team in 1996.
Whether Wenger is back in charge at the Emirates Stadium next season is yet to be resolved. The 67-year-old Frenchman won't discuss his future until after Saturday's FA Cup final against Chelsea.
Chelsea is chasing a double. Antonio Conte's side received the Premier League trophy after routing bottom-place Sunderland 5-1 on Sunday, two weeks after securing a second title in three seasons.
Chelsea finished seven points in front of Tottenham, which completed its best league campaign in 54 years in style by beating relegated Hull 7-1.
Of the three teams chasing the final two Champions League spots, City was the quickest off the mark. Captain Vincent Kompany netted after five minutes and City went on to beat Watford 5-0, with Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho and Gabriel Jesus also contributing to the rout.
Arsenal made a flying start, with Hector Bellerin netting the opener in the eighth minute. But Laurent Koscielny also went flying into a reckless challenge on Enner Valencia and the Arsenal captain saw red in the 14th minute.
Rather than imploding as Arsenal sides have been prone to do with 10 men, Alexis Sanchez doubled Arsenal's advantage in the 27th minute.
With Liverpool being held at home by Middlesbrough, Arsenal displaced Juergen Klopp's side from fourth place in the live standings. But only until first-half stoppage time at Anfield. Once Georginio Wijnaldum scored for Liverpool in first-half stoppage time, Arsenal was back in fifth place. That's the way it stayed, with Philippe Coutinho's free kick followed by Adam Lallana's strike in 56th minute to secure Liverpool's 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough.
With City and Liverpool comfortably winning, there was nothing Arsenal could do to muscle into the top four. The Gunners still held on to win, with Romelu Lukaku pulling one back from the penalty spot for Everton but Aaron Ramsey completing the 3-1 victory in stoppage time.
Having missed out on the top four for the first time in Wenger's 21-year reign, there was little for Arsenal players to celebrate with fans as they embarked on a lap of appreciation after the Premier League finale. Wenger didn't even join in, remaining on the touchline with his arms folded.
John Terry collected the Premier League trophy for the fifth time in the final act of his 22-year association with Chelsea.
The captain had his own personal opportunity to thank the Stamford Bridge faithful earlier in the day. Sunderland manager David Moyes revealed that his team collaborated with Chelsea to ensure the ball would go out around the 26th minute — matching the shirt number Terry has worn throughout his career — to enable the defender to leave the pitch to a guard of honor.
Chelsea was already leading through Willian's eighth-minute strike when the 36-year-old departing Terry was honored. Chelsea's 30th win of the campaign was sealed by Eden Hazard, Pedro Rodriguez and a double from Michy Batshuayi.
KANE TOP SCORER
Tottenham missed out on the top team prize, but Harry Kane retained the golden boot by finishing as the league's top scorer for the second consecutive season.
Kane finished with 29 goals despite missing eight of the 38 games through injury, with his tally augmented by a second hat trick inside three days. After netting four in Tottenham's 6-1 win at Leicester on Thursday, Kane claimed a treble at Hull. Dele Alli, Victor Wanyama, Ben Davies and Toby Alderweireld also netted for Tottenham.
MAN UNITED'S MISSION
Jose Mourinho entered the final day of the league campaign knowing United was finishing sixth and prioritizing winning the Europa League in Wednesday's final against Ajax to qualify for the Champions League.
Despite United's lowest finish since Alex Ferguson retired after collecting the Premier League trophy in 2013, the League Cup has already been collected and Sunday's game offered hope for the future.
Four players were given their first league starts by Mourinho and his youthful side beat Crystal Palace 2-0. One of the debutants — Josh Harrop — scored the opener and the other goal came from Paul Pogba, the world's most expensive player.
Leicester was in danger of relegation during its woeful defense of the title it won so unexpectedly a year ago. Craig Shakespeare is now waiting to discover if he'll keep the manager's job after a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth secured a 12th place finish.
Eddie Howe's Bournemouth has done more than just secure a third successive season in the Premier League but finished ninth — the team's highest placing since being founded in the 19th century.
Sean Dyche has also impressed by leading Burnley to its highest league position since 1975. The northwest side lost 2-1 to West Ham but finished 16th, six points clear of danger.
Swansea went through three managers this season but the decision to hire Paul Clement has been justified by the south Wales team avoiding the drop. Swansea closed out the campaign with a 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion, taking Clement's points haul to 29 from 19 games and finishing in 15th.
Southampton failed to score in a fifth successive home game in a 1-0 loss to Stoke. Even though the south-coast club finished eighth, there's uncertainty over the future of manager Claude Puel.
There were boos at the final whistle at St. Mary's Stadium which could play into the club's review over post-season review of Puel's position.