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EPL Wk 37 Review: Chelsea secure Champions League place after Watford win

TAGs: Chelsea, English Premier League, Watford Football Club

The second of three reports from Week 37 of the English Premier League focus on Chelsea’s qualification to the Champions League after beating Watford at Stamford Bridge.

EPL Wk 37 Review: Chelsea secure Champions League place after Watford winFans of Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester United can leave their padded cells. The unknown has become known. Spurs, Arsenal and Man Utd, had jelly beans for legs in the Champions League home straight while Chelsea got the job done.

Since losing to Everton on 17 March, Chelsea has only lost once (to Liverpool) while the other horses in the Champions League continued to stumble and fall.

Chelsea’s Champions League qualification was confirmed after another abysmal weekend for Spurs, Arsenal and Man Utd with Spurs losing to Bournemouth, and both Arsenal and Man Utd drawing with lowly Brighton and Huddersfield, while Chelsea beat Watford at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea made a slow start, and Watford was unlucky not to go into the half-time break ahead after Gerard Deulofeu, and Troy Deeney came close, and Jose Holebas blasted over the bar. It was a first-half performance that produced a chorus of boos from several sections of the crowd.

The second half was a different story.

No boos.

Only cheers.

Chelsea was ahead within three minutes of the restart. Eden Hazard picked up a short corner, floated a beautiful cross to the head of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and the young England international finished off the job. Loftus-Cheek would go on to pick up the man of the match award, and Sarri would later tell the press that Chelsea’s midfielder had the raw talent to become one of the best in Europe.

One man who is already ‘one of the best in Europe’, is Eden Hazard, and the Belgian star made it 15-assists for the season after David Luiz converted his corner to put Chelsea two ahead in the 51st minute. Gonzalo Higuaín sealed the win, running onto a Pedro through ball to chip the keeper with 15-minutes remaining. It was the Argentine’s fifth goal in 13 EPL appearances, and Chelsea fans will be hoping the board make his move from Juventus a permanent one.

It’s incredible to think that the bookies made Maurizio Sarri an odds on favourite to be beheaded after the Blues made the final of the League Cup, are one of the favourites to win the Europa League, and have now qualified for the Champions League.

Watford, on the other hand, has only won one of their past five EPL games, meaning they have fallen out of the race to qualify for the Europa League, and will have to beat Man City in the FA Cup Final to ensure European football at Vicarage next season.

Watford’s problem is a simple one, losing the past 11-ties against The Big Six. If they want to be a serial Europa League qualifier, they will have to fix that leak.

The fourth and final Champions League place almost certainly belongs to Spurs who sit three points ahead of Arsenal with a +8 goal difference. Arsenal opened the scoring in the first ten minutes with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring his 20th EPL goal of the season from the penalty spot, but a Glen Murray penalty in the 61st minute secured an unfancied point for the seagulls.

Man Utd joins Arsenal in the Europa League after failing to beat relegated Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told the press that his side ‘didn’t deserve’ Champions League qualification after an abysmal run of form that has ended with a draw against a team that has only taken four points in their previous 23 games.

Results in Full

Everton 2 v 0 Burnley
Bournemouth 1 v 0 Spurs
West Ham 3 v 0 Southampton
Wolves 1 v 0 Fulham
Cardiff 2 v 3 Crystal Palace
Newcastle 2 v 3 Liverpool
Chelsea 3 v 0 Watford
Huddersfield 1 v 1 Man Utd
Arsenal 1 v 1 Brighton

To Be Played

Man City v Leicester (Mon)

EPL Standings

1. Liverpool – 94
2. Man City – 92
3. Chelsea – 71
4. Spurs – 70
5. Arsenal – 67
6. Man Utd – 66
7. Wolves – 57
8. Everton – 53
9. Leicester – 51
10. Watford – 50
11. West Ham – 49
12. Crystal Palace – 46
13. Bournemouth – 45
14. Newcastle – 42
15. Burnley – 40
16. Southampton – 38
17. Brighton – 36
18. Cardiff – 31 (R)
19. Fulham – 26 (R)
20. Huddersfield – 15 (R)

Winning Odds

Man City 2/9
Liverpool 3/1

Man City Remaining Fixtures

Leicester (H) 4 May
Brighton (A) 12 May

Liverpool Remaining Fixtures

Wolves (H) 12 May

Top Goalscorer Odds

Mohamed Salah 4/6
Sergio Aguero 2/1
Sadio Mané 10/1

Current Top Scorers

1. Mohamed Salah – 22
2. Sadio Mané – 20
3. Sergio Aguero – 20
4. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 20
5. Jamie Vardy – 18

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