Tottenham secure Europa League spot as Chelsea face nervous wait

tottenham secure europa league spot as chelsea face nervous wait

Spurs ran riot at Bramall Lane to leave Chelsea sweating (Picture: Getty)

Tottenham wrapped up fifth spot and a place in next season’s Europa League thanks to a 3-0 win over Sheffield United on the final day of the season, while Chelsea face an anxious wait to see what competition they will be playing in.

Spurs only needed a point to secure their participation and made no mistakes against the already relegated Blades, with Chelsea ultimately unable to catch their London rivals irrespective of their own narrow win over Bournemouth.

While Chelsea will definitely be playing European football next season, having held off the challenge of Newcastle United, what competition they will play in now rests on the result of the FA Cup final next Saturday.

There was brief hope for the Blues in the early stages of Tottenham’s clash with Sheffield United, with the north Londoners looking a little nervy and they had to withstand some early pressure from the plucky hosts, but they took the lead – and control – against the run of play in the 14th minute.

After the ball was won high up the pitch, striker-for-the-day Dejan Kulusevski was slipped in by Heung-min Son and fired into the far corner from a very acute angle, with his goal seeing Spurs take a stranglehold on the match.

They ended the half with 72 per cent possession, five shots on target and one effort off the inside of the post from Rodrigo Bentancur.

That dominance only continued after the restart, with a goal-mouth scramble eventually seeing Pedro Porro fire a thunderous effort into the back of the net before Kulusevski finished off a sweeping move to grab his second goal of the afternoon.

tottenham secure europa league spot as chelsea face nervous wait

Ange Postecoglou was in a far happier mood on Sunday (Picture: Getty)

Chelsea, meanwhile, made a very bright start at Stamford Bridge against Bournemouth as they looked to put pressure on Spurs, with Moises Caicedo finally opening his account for the club with an outrageous effort.

After Bournemouth keeper Neto rushed off his line, his clearance only found Caicedo on the halfway line who steadied himself and struck a stunning effort that floated over a sea of players and into the back of the net.

Moments after half-time they had doubled their lead, with Raheem Sterling sprinting down the left flank, dropping a shoulder and firing an effort that snuck under Neto.

tottenham secure europa league spot as chelsea face nervous wait

Caicedo scored a stunning goal for Chelsea against Bournemouth (Picture: Getty)

Bournemouth hit straight back, though, with a deep cross picking out Enes Unal at the back post, who cut inside and fired an effort towards goal that took a huge deflection off Benoit Badiashile – and actually went down as an own goal.

Chelsea had to withstand a lot of pressure in the closing stages but held on to secure a 2-1 victory and sixth place in the table – something that looked very unlikely just a few weeks ago.

Newcastle United were also in with a shout of snatching the potential sixth-place Europa League spot but needed to win at Brentford and for Chelsea to slip up.

The latter did not happen, but the Magpies still ended the season on a high as they put the Bees to the sword with a ruthless first-half performance.

A VAR check actually saw an early opener from Ivan Toney ruled out, before quick-fire goals from Harvey Barnes, Jacob Murphy and Alexander Isak in the space of 17 minutes seemed to put the contest to bed before the break.

Brentford threatened a comeback at the start of the second half, scoring twice, but the brilliant Bruno Guimaraes netted with around 15 minutes left to play to put his side 4-2 up and thwart any hopes of a comeback for the home side.

tottenham secure europa league spot as chelsea face nervous wait

Manchester United’s FA Cup appearance has big consequences (Picture: Getty)

The result sees Newcastle hold off Manchester United – who beat Brighton – to secure seventh place, but, like Chelsea, they must also wait until next weekend to learn their European fate.

Although Manchester United have finished outside the European places, they can still claim a spot in the Europa League if they beat rivals – and 2023/24 Premier League champions – Manchester City in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.

Victory in the competition comes with the prize of a place in the Europa League, which will go to the sixth-placed team in the league if City win (as they are already in the Champions League) or United if the Red Devils come out on top.

If City win, seventh place – occupied by Newcastle – will get a spot in the Europa Conference League, but if United win then they will get nothing and it will be Chelsea who play in the third-tier competition instead.

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