LEICESTER, England (AP) — Leicester City was relegated from the Premier League on Sunday despite ending the season with a 2-1 win against West Ham.
Everton’s 1-0 victory against Bournemouth at Goodison Park meant there was nothing the 2016 league champion could do to avoid the drop.
Dean Smith’s side had sparked hope it could mount a dramatic survival bid after Harvey Barnes struck in the 34th minute.
With Everton drawing 0-0 at the time, Leicester temporarily climbed out of the bottom three on goal difference, prompting wild celebrations inside the King Power.
But when news began to filter through that Abdoulaye Doucoure had put Everton ahead in the second half, the energy was sucked out of the stadium.
Wout Faes headed in a second for the home team in the 62nd, but Leicester’s fortunes were dependent on what was happening on Merseyside.
By the time Pablo Fornals pulled one back for West Ham in the 79th, it mattered little on the day or for the season overall.
Starting the day in the relegation zone, Leicester knew it had to win to stand any chance of survival — and even then, needed Everton to drop points.
A superior goal difference to the Merseyside club meant a victory would see it stay up even if Everton drew.
After some nervous moments early on, Leicester grew in confidence and began to find space behind West Ham’s defence. Kelechi Iheanacho came close to opening the scoring with a spinning shot that clipped the top of the crossbar.
It was a moment that prompted the stadium to erupt as the fans tried to urge their team on.
It had the desired effect when Barnes found the back of the net after a slick passing move inside the box. Collecting Iheanacho’s pass on the left of the area, Barnes slid his shot past Lukasz Fabianski from a tight angle.
Leicester went in search of a quick-fire second with Iheanacho and James Maddison both coming close.
There was another roar from inside the ground, which appeared to be the result of erroneous information that Everton had conceded.
In the 57th there was more information from Goodison and on this occasion it was accurate.
Doucoure had scored, prompting visiting West Ham fans to chant “You’re going down.”
Everton 1, Bournemouth 0
In Liverpool, Everton’s fans poured onto the field to celebrate their team’s latest final-day escape in the Premier League after a 1-0 win over Bournemouth secured by Abdoulaye Doucoure’s second-half thunderbolt on Sunday.
Add 2023 to 1994 and 1998 as Everton again left it to the last afternoon of the campaign to preserve its top-flight status, which the club has had since 1954.
Everton finished one place above the relegation zone — two points above Leicester, whose 2-1 win over West Ham proved to be in vain.
Doucoure’s powerful 20-metre strike will go down as one of the most important goals in the club’s 145-year history and ensured Everton is not heading down to the Championship and likely into financial chaos.
The midfielder’s 10th goal for the club capped a remarkable turnaround in four months for the Mali international, who was training on his own in January after a fall-out with former Everton manager Frank Lampard.
Five days after having his contract extended by 12 months — and with his side just over half-an-hour from going down — he delivered when it mattered most.
It still required a clearance from Conor Coady under his own crossbar and a good save deep into 10 minutes of stoppage time from Jordan Pickford to keep Everton safe.
In 1994, Everton beat Wimbledon 3-2 — coming back from 2-0 down — and rivals Ipswich, Sheffield United and Southampton all fared worse to keep the Merseysiders in the top division. Four years later, they bettered Bolton’s result at Chelsea to survive.
The stakes seemed much higher on this occasion and with a new 52,000-capacity stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock due to open for the 2024-25 season, this was potentially the last Premier League game at Goodison Park.
However, they are not out of trouble as the club have posted losses in excess of £430 million over the last four years and have an outstanding Premier League charge for breaching profit and sustainability rules.
Everton will now have a 121st season in the top flight. A founder member of the English league in 1888, Everton has had only four seasons outside the top division – in 1930-31 and from 1951-1952 to 1953-54.
Tottenham 4, Leeds 1
In Leeds, the home side’s three-season stay in the Premier League is over after a 4-1 home defeat to Tottenham confirmed the team’s relegation.
Harry Kane and Pedro Porro scored early in each half to put Spurs 2-0 ahead and, although Jack Harrison reduced the deficit, Kane struck a game-clinching second in what could be his last game for the London club.
Tottenham substitute Lucas Moura sliced through a porous defence in stoppage time to complete the misery for Leeds, which ultimately would have gone down even with a win at Elland Road.
Leeds went into the final day needing not only victory but for relegation rivals Everton and Leicester to drop points. Since they both won, Leeds’ 21st league defeat of the season was immaterial and home fans vented their frustration and anger after the final whistle sounded.
Tottenham finished in eighth place and missed out on qualification for European competition next season.
Leeds’ interim manager, Sam Allardyce, cut a forlorn figure in the dugout and saw his side waste further first-half chances as Rodrigo headed Adam Forshaw’s cross off target and Rasmus Kristensen volleyed over.
As Leeds fans showed their ire at their club’s plight in the closing stages, Moura — in his last appearance for the club — completed the scoring after a mazy run from halfway before chants of “Sack the board” rang out through the home terraces.
Kane has one year left on his contract and the England captain refused to discuss his Tottenham future after the match.
Aston Villa 2, Bright & Hove Albion 1
In Birmingham, Aston Villa ended its 13-year European exile after a nervy 2-1 win over Brighton. First-half strikes from Douglas Luiz and Ollie Watkins ensured Villa finished the season in seventh place.
Villa secured its highest Premier League finish for 13 years, and with it a route into the Europa Conference League. Seventh represents a triumph for Villa manager Unai Emery, having taken over a relegation-threatened side in October following Steven Gerrard’s dismissal.
Deniz Undav pulled one goal back — having also had a goal disallowed for offside — but the Seagulls were unable to find a leveller.
Brighton, in the third tier 12 years ago, are heading to Europe for the first time following its impressive season. Brighton had already sealed sixth and a Europa League place so all eyes were on the hosts.
Manchester United 2, Fulham 1
In Manchester, Erik ten Hag secured a third-place finish in his first season at Manchester United after a 2-1 win against Fulham. The Dutch coach has already led United to triumph in the League Cup and could add to that when his side faces Manchester City in the FA Cup final next week.
His team made sure the league campaign ended on a high note with Jadon Sancho and Bruno Fernandes securing victory after Kenny Tete fired Fulham ahead at Old Trafford.
Champions League qualification had already been assured after Thursday’s 4-1 win against Chelsea, but United needed another victory to be certain of finishing above Newcastle.
Tete opened the scoring in the 19th minute and Fulham could have extended its lead in the 26th, but David de Gea denied Aleksandar Mitrovic from the penalty spot.
Sancho evened the score in the 39th after prodding home after Tete challenged Fred in the box.
United took the lead in the 55th through Fernandes, who ran beyond the Fulham defence and clipped a shot over Bernd Leno.
The win was a club record-equalling 27th for United at Old Trafford in all competitions this season and keeps the momentum up heading into the FA Cup final when Ten Hag will hope to add more shine to his debut season.
Arsenal 5, Wolverhampton 0
In London, if this was Granit Xhaka’s Arsenal farewell, he made it one to remember.
In his 297th and probably last game for the club, Xhaka scored two goals for the first time as the Premier League runners-up finished the season with a 5-0 win over Wolverhampton.
Xhaka headed in a cross from Gabriel Jesus in the 11th minute and doubled the lead three minutes later after the ball fell to him in the center of the box following a failed clearance.
The Switzerland midfielder, who has been linked with a move to Bayer Leverkusen in the summer, was taken off to a standing ovation in the 75th minute and hugged his teammates as he left the pitch.
Arsenal had lost its previous two games to hand the league title to Manchester City but faced little resistance from a Wolves side with nothing to play for.
Bukayo Saka made it 3-0 in the 27th with a neat curled finish inside the far post and Jesus headed in the fourth in the 58th after a cross from Leandro Trossard.
Defender Jakub Kiwior then rounded off the win by scoring his first Arsenal goal with a shot that Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa spilled into the net.
Chelsea 1, Newcastle 1
In London, Frank Lampard signed off as Chelsea manager with a 1-1 draw against Newcastle, leaving him without a home win during his underwhelming interim tenure.
It took Kieran Trippier’s own-goal at Stamford Bridge to cancel out Newcastle winger Anthony Gordon’s early strike and spare Lampard the ignominy of a ninth defeat in his 11 games in charge.
Newcastle had already sealed its objective and qualified for the Champions League, but the draw dropped the visitors to fourth place below Manchester United. Somewhat embarrassingly, Chelsea finished in 12th place.
At the end of an awful season for Chelsea, there were at last flashes of a brighter future with Noni Madueke, Lewis Hall and substitute Carney Chukwuemeka — none of them older than 21 — the outstanding trio.
Chelsea’s equalizer was a mix of brilliance from Raheem Sterling and misfortune for Trippier. Sterling collected the ball from a quick free kick on the right of the penalty area and showed fine feet to slip inside and shoot left-footed low to the back post.
The effort looked to be going wide until a critical deflection off Trippier, who — with help from Fabian Schar on the goalline — bundled the ball awkwardly with his arm past Martin Dubravka.
Liverpool 4, Southampton 4
In Southampton, goals from Cody Gakpo and Diogo Jota salvaged a 4-4 draw for Liverpool at Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday as the Merseyside club’s season ended in wild circumstances.
Jurgen Klopp’s team had blown a two-goal lead at St Mary’s before coming back from 4-2 down to scramble a point.
Gakpo and Jota both struck in the space of a minute of each other to ensure a disappointing campaign for Liverpool at least did not end in defeat.
Klopp’s side has endured a troubled season that has seen it miss out on qualification for the Champions League for the first time since 2016. But there have been clear signs of improvement in recent weeks, with Liverpool heading into Sunday’s match on the back of a 10-game unbeaten streak.
The visitors were 2-0 up after goals from Jota in the 10th minute and Roberto Firmino in the 14th.
James Ward-Prowse — who was potentially making his final Southampton appearance — halved the deficit in the 19th when slotting into the bottom-right corner after being picked out by Carlos Alcaraz.
Kamaldeen Sulemana evened the score in the 28th and then fired Southampton ahead two minutes after halftime.
Substitute Adam Armstrong intercepted Jordan Henderson’s pass and fired low to make it 4-2 in the 64th as already-relegated Southampton looked set to go down in style.
Gakpo tapped in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross in the 72nd to pull one back for Liverpool and a minute later Jota found space to lash home his second from Mohamed Salah’s pass.
Salah almost snatched victory for Liverpool, but his attempted control from a long pass struck the left post after looping over the head of goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
James Milner and Firmino started on their farewell appearances for the Europa League-bound Reds.
Brentford 1, Manchester City 0
In London, Premier League champion Manchester City lost its final game of the campaign as Ethan Pinnock’s late goal earned Brentford a 1-0 win and a home-and-away double over Pep Guardiola’s team.
The centre back celebrated signing a new four-year contract earlier in the day by scoring an 85th-minute winner.
With the title sewn up last weekend, Guardiola rested some of his big hitters ahead of next weekend’s FA Cup final. The Champions League final is seven days later for City.
With Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish missing completely and Erling Haaland left on the bench, it was a scratch City side and those established stars who did play, like Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez, had little impact.
Brentford still had something to play for, by contrast, as the team was in with a slim chance of qualifying for the Europa Conference League before wins for Tottenham and Aston Villa ultimately wrecked those hopes.
The winner came from a cross by substitute Kevin Schade, which was headed back across goal by Mbeumo and emphatically finished by Pinnock.
Defeat meant City did not break the 90-point mark for a record fourth time in the Premier League.
Crystal Palace 1, Nottingham Forest 1
In London, Nottingham Forest striker Taiwo Awoniyi capped his strong end to the season with a sixth goal in four games in a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace in the final round of the Premier League on Sunday.
His 31st-minute goal was cancelled out by Will Hughes in the 66th in what could be Palace interim manager Roy Hodgson’s last game in charge.
Hodgson had already succeeded in his main task of keeping Palace up, and the team finished the season in 11th place. Forest was also safe entering the game and finished in 16th place.