LONDON (AP) — As Manchester City finally collected the Premier League trophy on Sunday, Chelsea closed in on salvaging Champions League qualification from a lackluster title defense and further weakened Liverpool’s grip on a top-four finish.
A resurgent Chelsea sealed a fifth successive victory when Olivier Giroud scored the only goal against Liverpool, which has only one win in five league games.
It’s an impressive turnaround for Chelsea, which has cut the gap to fourth-place Tottenham from 10 to two points in a month.
The 1-0 win over Liverpool sent Chelsea within three points of Juergen Klopp’s side, which has neglected its domestic responsibilities while qualifying for a first Champions League final in 11 years.
While both Chelsea and Tottenham have two games remaining, Liverpool only has one game left and could be relying on its superior goal difference to secure a place in the Champions League — unless Liverpool beats Real Madrid in the May 26 European final.
Whoever finishes fifth will have to settle for a spot in the Europa League alongside Arsenal and Burnley, who met on Sunday in Arsene Wenger’s final home match in charge of the London club. It was a fitting send-off from the Emirates Stadium for Wenger, with Arsenal demolishing Burnley 5-0.
Wenger is leaving Arsenal after 22 years, having failed to win the Premier League since 2004.
Man City, which sealed the title three weeks ago, received the trophy for the third time in six years on Sunday but couldn’t produce a performance befitting title celebrations after being held 0-0 by Huddersfield.
The games on Sunday took place against the backdrop of an outpouring of concern for the health of former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, who had emergency surgery on Saturday for a brain hemorrhage.