chelsea secure champions league spots, Manchester United fails to qualify.

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A painfully bad first-half was followed by a slightly less painful second-half as Chelsea notched an important victory

in the penultimate match of the 2018-19 Premier League season.

 

Watford seemed to have the edge in effort, motivation, and aggression all game — aided to no small extent by the

referee, as it often is — but Chelsea made two set pieces in quick succession count early in the second-half, and that

was enough to make the telling difference.

Eden Hazard, possibly in his last home Premier League game, picked up both assists, on the short corner routine

from which Loftus-Cheek scored (beating his old buddy Nathaniel Chalobah in the air), and on the more

conventional corner from which David Luiz scored.

 

Higuaín, on the end of the latest of his typical short runs inside the area, added a third with 15 minutes to go, which

made sure of the points.

 

MANCHESTER FAILS TO QUALIFY

This was another embarrassment for Manchester United in an embarrassment of riches of a season. At a team with

nine home league goals, they conceded not just an equaliser but more points as their risible challenge for

Champions League qualification ended.

United were lackadaisical, lethargic and complacent, adjectives that accurately summarise this squad and the
hierarchy. United supporters must have wondered ‘How many?’ following Scott McTominay’s fortuitous eighth-
minute breakthrough and ‘how many?’ was still the relevant question: How many players should they get rid of?

 

Huddersfield were relegated on March 30, yet their grateful fans chirped ‘You’re f*****g s**t’ and it was difficult for

the United away-dayers to dispute their opinion. “You’re going down,” United supporters replied. They have had to

stoop to the level of heckling Championship fodder.

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sat motionless and powerless for much of the last 30 minutes. On the rare occasion he stood,

his hands were stuffed in his pockets, dumbstruck and and deflated. It appears he has given up on some of these

pitiful players.

 

Luke Shaw, regarded as a frontrunner for the player of the year award, did not play like he is about to take the Sir

Matt Busby statue home with him from Old Trafford on Thursday. Shaw’s failure to intercept a goal kick was seized

upon by Isaac Mbenza to slot through the porous David de Gea’s legs. “Embarrassing,” Gary Neville lamented.

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