Aston Villa qualify for Europa Conference League

28 May 2023
Aston Villa

Unai Emery's side finish seventh following victory over Brighton on the final day

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EPIC final-day moments

Aston Villa have qualified for the UEFA Europa Conference League after beating Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 at Villa Park. 

Goals from Douglas Luiz and Ollie Watkins fired Unai Emery's side to a seventh-place finish, ensuring they stayed above Tottenham Hotspur and Brentford - who also won on the final day - and securing European football for the first time since 2010.

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Watkins' goal made it 2-0 and took his tally to 15 for the season, the most by any Villa player since Christian Benteke, who netted 19 in 2012/13.

Brighton got themselves back into the match through Deniz Undav but could not find an equaliser.

Villa's seventh straight home win caps off a sensational season and leaves them with 61 points, one point behind Brighton, who have qualified for the UEFA Europa League.

Race for final European spot

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
7 Aston Villa AVL 38 +5 61
8 Tottenham Hotspur TOT 38 +7 60
9 Brentford BRE 38 +12 59
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Spurs miss out

Tottenham Hotspur did all they could as they won 4-1 at Leeds United, but Villa's victory meant they finished eighth and have failed to qualify for Europe. 

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Harry Kane gave them the lead in the second minute, scoring in a 26th different match of the Premier League season, equalling the record held by Andrew Cole, who achieved that feat in a 42-match campaign.

Pedro Porro then doubled Spurs’ lead early in the second half when he drilled the ball into the bottom left corner.

Jack Harrison gave the hosts hope, but Kane struck again two minutes later, netting his second goal of the match and 30th of the campaign. He becomes the first ever Premier League player to score 30 or more goals in two separate 38-match seasons.

Lucas Moura then ended his Spurs career with a fine goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time, as he ran past several Leeds players before finishing. Spurs finish on 60 points, while Leeds are relegated with 31 points.

See: Everton win to stay up and send down Leicester and Leeds

Brentford do the double over Man City

Brentford also missed out on a European spot, but they secured a memorable 1-0 win over Manchester City, completing the league double over the champions.

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On the day he celebrated a new contract with the club, Ethan Pinnock scored the decisive goal five minutes from time, converting from close range when Bryan Mbeumo headed the ball back to him.

The Bees end in ninth place on 59 points, while Man City stay on 89 points.

Five star Arsenal end on a high

Second-placed Arsenal finished their season on a high and closed the final gap at the top to five points with an emphatic 5-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

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Granit Xhaka gave the Gunners the lead in reportedly his final match for the club, heading in from a Gabriel Jesus cross, before scoring again three minutes later to score his first brace in his 225th Premier League appearance.

Fresh from signing a new contract, Bukayo Saka put Arsenal 3-0 up, and Jesus made it 4-0 with a far-post header, before Jakub Kiwior scored his first goal for the club. The Gunners finish with 84 points. Wolves stay 13th on 41.

Eight-goal thriller at St Mary's

There was a superb encounter on the south coast as Southampton and Liverpool played out a thrilling 4-4 draw.

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Diogo Jota put the visitors in front, scoring into an empty net when Southampton were caught trying to play out from defence.

Liverpool doubled their lead through Roberto Firmino in his final match for the club, but Saints fought back to equalise through James Ward-Prowse and Kamaldeen Sulemana.

Sulemana then netted his second, and Adam Armstrong put Saints 4-2 up when he intercepted Jordan Henderson’s pass.

However, Liverpool refused to accept defeat and goals from Cody Gakpo and Jota in the space of 60 seconds brought the visitors level.

Southampton end their stay in the Premier League bottom of the table on 25 points, while Liverpool finish fifth on 67.

Man Utd secure third

Manchester United came from behind to beat Fulham 2-1 at Old Trafford.

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Kenny Tete gave the Cottagers the lead with a powerful header from Willian’s corner. They then missed a golden opportunity to double their lead when Aleksandar Mitrovic had his penalty saved by David De Gea.

The Fulham striker has now missed four of his eight spot-kicks this season, the most by a player in a single Premier League campaign.

Jadon Sancho made the visitors rue that miss as he brought Man Utd level, and Bruno Fernandes completed the turnaround with a superb chip over Bernd Leno.

Man Utd, who have an FA Cup final to look forward to next Saturday, end the season in third as Erik ten Hag caps off a strong first season in charge. Fulham finish 10th on 52 points.

All square at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea and Newcastle United played out a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.

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The hosts fell behind when Anthony Gordon scored his first goal for the club, tapping into an empty net after being played in by Elliot Anderson.

But the Blues fought back when Kieran Trippier put the ball into his own net following Raheem Sterling’s cross into the box.

The Magpies, who secured a top-four finish earlier this week, finish fourth on 71 points. Chelsea end in 12th on 44.

Awoniyi scores again

Taiwo Awoniyi’s superb May continued as his sixth goal of the month helped Nottingham Forest to a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace.

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The Eagles got themselves level on terms through Will Hughes, who scored his only goal of the season with a deflected header.

Forest end a superb season in 16th place on 38 points, while Palace finish in 11th, one point above Chelsea.

Also in this series

Part 1: Everton win to stay up and send down Leicester and Leeds
Part 3: Dyche: A magic day but it must not happen again
Part 4: Smith: We fell a little bit short

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