Everton achieves survival once again in a dramatic final matchday. The Toffees won against Bournemouth, so they didn’t need to wait for results from their rivals. Thus, the second-longest streak of seasons in England’s top division will continue… for the time being.
Everton 1-0 Bournemouth
Bournemouth had nothing at stake… but they didn’t play like it. They pressed hard in a first half filled with nerves for Everton fans. The alerts arrived on mobile phones: Leicester had won, and with that plus the draw, Everton had clinched a place in the Championship. But Doucouré had other plans: in the 57th minute, from the edge of the area, he sent it into the net, with the goalkeeper unable to do anything about it.
But the tension was still there, as the draw would have left them in a precarious situation as well. Pickford had to make two excellent stops to keep the goal clean. A huge accomplishment for a squad who had previously failed to score two goals in their own stadium. Everton had once again sealed their place on the final matchday when the referee blew the final whistle in the 100th minute of the game.
“Horrible day for all concerned, apart from getting the job done,” Everton manager Sean Dyche remarked. “This was the main job. We had to get it sorted out and over the line. That was the key focus. Now we must refocus on the rest of it. The underlying bigger news since I’ve been here has been negative, so it’s been difficult to do that but the overriding feeling is we shouldn’t be here. Enjoy it, but things have got to change”.
Leicester 2-1 West Ham
Leicester did everything they had to do: win and wait. But given the circumstances they were in, that wasn’t enough. Everton’s goal came minutes before the second goal for the Foxes, which explained the silence among the fans. That was the moment to keep an eye on mobile phones, radios, waiting for a goal from Bournemouth.
The game itself didn’t matter much to the fans in King Power Stadium, as Pablo Fornals’ 2-1 win didn’t make a difference. Goals were being celebrated that never came, while everyone awaited news that no one wanted to hear: Leicester had been relegated to the Championship seven years after winning the Premier League.
The club will have to reinvent itself, with eight players whose contracts expire on June 30, including Youri Tielemans and Caglar Soyuncu. Additionally, others like Harvey Barnes, James Maddison, and Kelechi Iheanacho are already waiting for news from Premier League clubs. It will be a busy summer for a team that has spent nearly ten years in the top division and where failure was once defined by failing to qualify for the Champions League.
Leeds United 1-4 Tottenham
There was a team that had to fight to secure a spot in Europe, and that task fell to Leeds on the final matchday, who needed little more than a miracle to avoid relegation. The miracle didn’t happen, but the performance of the former Champions League winner didn’t deserve it either.
They were already behind after two minutes, thanks to a Harry Kane goal… and after halftime, just two minutes into the second half, Pedro Porro made it 0-2. Leeds fought valiantly, reducing the gap in the 67th minute, but Kane added another goal to his personal record two minutes later. In the 95th minute, Moura completed the thrashing, relegating Leeds to the Championship.
With only two away victories and no wins since early April, it seemed impossible for Leeds to survive… and that’s exactly what happened. They are returning to the country’s second division, from which they escaped just three years ago.