Chelsea completely and utterly destroyed ten-man Wigan Athletic at Stamford Bridge today to earn the club the Premier League title in front of the home fans, 8-0. Didier Drogba (pictured) recorded a second half hat-trick, Nicolas Anelka scored a brace and Frank Lampard, Salomon Kalou and Ashley Cole also scored to complete the ridiculous rout. The Blues needed to win today to guarantee the league title but that was never in doubt as Chelsea thrashed Wigan up one side and down the next. So Chelsea are league champions once again, and very deservedly so given their stirring run of form to close the season and end Manchester United’s streak of titles. Wigan finish the season in sixteenth place.
Speaking of Manchester United, they did a thrashing of their own, rattling Stoke City 4-0 at Old Trafford, but remain just one point behind Chelsea to finish the season in second place. Darren Fletcher, Ryan Giggs and Ji-Sung Park all scored for United with a Danny Higginbotham own-goal representing the fourth goal. United should feel pleased with a second place finish, considering how injured and different this team was than the ones that had won the league over the past few seasons. As for Stoke, they end the season in eleventh place. Hardly a poor result for a club that was just in the Championship two years ago.
Third place belongs to Arsenal who wrapped up their automatic qualification into the Champions League next year with a resounding 4-0 romp over otherwise-occupied Fulham. The Gunners got goals from Andrei Arshavin, Robin Van Persie and Carlos Vela with a Chris Baird own-goal thrown in for good measure. Arsenal needed to win today in order to ensure their place as the third Champions League club from England. Fulham will play in the Europa League final at Hamburg on May 15 and therefore did not exactly push for victory in the final week of the season. As such, the Cottagers slip to twelfth, narrowly missing their second-consecutive top-ten finish. That said, by reaching the final of the Europa League, Fulham are guaranteed to return to Europe.
Coming in fourth in 2009/10 is Tottenham Hotspur who completely fell apart in their last game of this season, losing 4-2 to Burnley after leading 2-0 at Turf Moor. The last game in the Premier League for the relegated Clarets ended on a high note and saw them jump up to eighteenth place for a final position. Spurs could have reached third place with a win and Arsenal loss, but seeing as neither of those outcomes occurred, it is not really worth talking about.
Manchester City finish in fifth place after a 1-1 draw with West Ham United at the Boleyn Ground was enough to stay ahead of Aston Villa, who lost today. The Hammers got a goal from Luís Boa Morte before Shaun Wright-Philipps answered for the visitors. City were unable to move above fifth place after their mid-week loss to Tottenham, but could have slipped down to sixth. The shared points keep City as the top club not to qualify for the Champions League while the Hammers round out this disaster of a season in seventeenth place.
Aston Villa were unable to put pressure on Manchester City for fifth place because a Richard Dunne own-goal in the 84th minute gave Blackburn Rovers a 1-0 away victory at Villa Park. Rovers used their three points to remain ahead of Stoke City and claim tenth place in the Premier League. Villa stayed just a point ahead of Liverpool for sixth place. Blackburn end the season on a nice high, finishing in tenth place.
Speaking of Liverpool, they were unable to even register a single goal away to relegated Hull City on the last day of the season with a nil-nil draw ending a season of disappointment for both sides. The Reds had Steven Gerrard go off the post on a day where a simple victory over a terrible team would have at least kept last season’s runners-up in sixth place. Instead Liverpool finish in seventh place, only two points above Everton. Hull of course will be returning to the Championship just two seasons after their famous promotion. The Tigers finish the season in nineteenth place, tied on points but with a single goal fewer than Burnley.
Everton fell out of European competition but did manage to finish in a strong eighth position as Diniyar Bilyaletdinov scored an extra-time goal at Goodison Park for a season-ending 1-0 victory over relegated Portsmouth. The Toffees were never in danger of slipping below eighth, finish eleven points clear of ninth place Birmingham City. But the last-gasp goal for Everton concludes a stunning return to form after Christmas after a truly dreadful start. Pompey have of course been relegated for weeks after going into administration and generally playing pitiful football. They finish in twentieth place, eleven points below even nineteenth, thanks to the nine-point penalty for nearly going out of business.
Ninth place fell to Birmingham City who stayed ahead of Blackburn Rovers only by way of goal differential after a 2-1 loss away to Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok. Kevin Davies and Ivan Klasnić scored for the home side with only a James McFadden goal to end the season for Brum. Still, the Blues had a far superior season than almost any predictions held pre-season with a top-ten finish and a return of respectability to St. Andrews. Pending financial struggles may doom the Blues next season, but for now Birmingham can enjoy a finish in the top-ten. Bolton end this season in fourteenth place, probably slightly lower than expected but by no means out of place.
And Wolverhampton Wanderers survived their season in the Premier League, capping the retention-focused campaign with a nice 2-1 win over Sunderland at Molineux. Kevin Doyle and Adlène Guedioura brought Wolves back from an early deficit after Kenwyne Jones scored in the eighth minute for the visitors. A fifteenth place finish is far preferable for Wolves than returning to the Championship, despite it’s relative lack of pomp. The Black Cats will surely be disappointed with this season, finishing in thirteenth place after a decent start.