EPL: Relief for Manchester City and Arsenal
Manuel Pellegrini's men almost assured of Champions League berth; Arsenal finish second in EPL after Spurs choke
London: Manuel Pellegrini has all-but delivered Champions League football in his final game as Manchester City manager with a 1-1 draw at Swansea yesterday.
Swansea City's Andre Ayew (left) scores their first goal from a freekick against Manchester City at the The Liberty Stadium in Swansea yesterday. Swansea drew 1-1. Pic/AFP
Only a massive swing in goal difference in Manchester United's favour in their rearranged fixture against Bournemouth can now deny City and their incoming manager Pep Guardiola fourth place and with it a berth in the qualifiers for Europe's premier club competition.
They are now all-but certain of achieving their objective after Kelechi Iheanacho's early strike, which was cancelled out on the stroke of half-time by Andre Ayew's deflected free-kick.
Giroud 'tricks Villa
Meanwhile, Olivier Giroud's first-ever Barclays Premier League hat-trick saw Arsenal beat Aston Villa in the final game of the season to secure a second-place finish at the expense of rivals Tottenham.
It was an afternoon of 'what might have been' after the Gunners had entered 2016 top of the table and looking in good shape to claim their first title in 12 years.
Instead the 4-0 victory over the long-since relegated Villa saw Arsenal leapfrog Spurs to finish second to champions Leicester as Giroud picked the perfect time to show Arsene Wenger he can lead the line at the Emirates Stadium going into next season.
The win, coupled with Tottenham's capitulation at Newcastle, means Arsenal have not finished below their neighbours since 1995.
Champs Leicester draw
Danny Drinkwater struck a stunning late equaliser as Leicester City concluded their fairytale Premier League campaign with a 1-1 draw against outgoing champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Cesc Fabregas's penalty put Chelsea ahead, but Drinkwater crowned his return from suspension by levelling with a dipping 25-yard effort in the 82nd minute.