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English Premier League

Sheffield United 1-3 Nottingham Forest

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Sheffield United 1-3 Nottingham Forest

Sheffield United 1-3 Nottingham Forest. Callum Hudson-Odoi scored twice as Nottingham Forest took a big step towards Premier League survival by beating already-relegated Sheffield United.

Ben Brereton Diaz’s penalty put the home side ahead at Bramall Lane before Hudson-Odoi’s superb curling effort brought Forest level midway through the first half.

The Blades responded well but missed a host of first-half chances and were punished when Ryan Yates put the visitors ahead with a thumping effort six minutes after the break.

Hudson-Odoi then made sure of a vital three points for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side when he cut inside and bent the ball past Blades goalkeeper Wes Foderingham into the far corner.

It was the 100th Premier League goal conceded by Sheffield United this season, equalling the record set by Swindon Town in 1993-94.

A frustrating day for the hosts was compounded when Anel Ahmedhodzic was sent off for a second bookable offence seconds before the full-time whistle.

With just two games remaining, Forest are now three points ahead of Luton Town in 18th and have a significantly better goal difference than Rob Edwards’ team.

Given the position Forest found themselves in before this game, winning was all that mattered and having secured the victory, they won’t care they were distinctly second best in the first 45 minutes.

Forest could have been in front less than two minutes in when Chris Wood was left unmarked but he volleyed wide from Morgan Gibbs-White’s cross.

Sheffield United soon had the upper hand, though, and after he was brought down by a sliding Gonzalo Montiel in the box, Brereton Diaz got back to his feet and powered the spot-kick down the middle.

Hudson-Odoi caressed a bouncing ball into the net from the corner of the penalty area 10 minutes later but given the Blades barrage that followed, it was a wonder how Forest remained level at half-time.

Brereton Diaz and Cameron Archer both spurned very presentable chances and Forest keeper Matz Sels was called into action time and again.

Wood hit the bar with a header late in the half to provide a reminder of the threat posed by the visitors and soon after the break, with United players calling for a foul by Murillo as a free-kick came in, Anthony Elanga put the ball back across goal, Willy Boly nodded it down and Yates smashed it in.

Although the home side still looked dangerous on occasion, that goal appeared to settle Forest and Hudson-Odoi clipped the post with what became a practice effort for the near identical shot he fired in soon afterwards.

They could have made it an even more emphatic victory in the last 25 minutes but three goals proved to be more than enough. It took some good fortune and while the job is not done yet, Forest have kept their fate in their own hands.

Four points from their last two games will make absolutely sure but, if results go their way, safety could be achieved next weekend when they host Chelsea.

Even after a first-half performance that should provide Sheffield United with encouragement heading into the summer, the afternoon ended with an unwanted record – or at least a share of it.

It has been that kind of season for the Blades.

With two games left, it would be a shock if they didn’t take the record for goals conceded from Swindon outright.

Moreover, even if they do manage two clean sheets, their 100 goals conceded will have come in four fewer games given Swindon leaked their century over a 42-game season.

Having a defence that has now conceded at least two goals in 10 straight league matches did not help, but it was their profligacy at the other end that was arguably more costly against Forest.

In the 15 minutes between Forest equalising and Wood hitting the bar, Chris Wilder’s side had three very good chances to go back in front but a combination of poor finishing and bad decision-making saw them all go begging.

They might have been out of sight but instead, a lack of quality in both boxes leaves them to ponder a 26th league defeat of the campaign.

source – BBC

English Premier League

Sheffield United 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur

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Sheffield United 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur

Sheffield United 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur. Ange Postecoglou said he “loved every minute” of his first season in charge of Tottenham Hotspur after they ended their inconsistent campaign on a high by thumping the Premier League’s bottom club Sheffield United to clinch a Europa League place.

After a prolonged search for Antonio Conte’s replacement, Postecoglou left Celtic to take over last summer and Spurs were touted as title contenders early in his reign but have fallen away to finish fifth.

“Contrary to my general demeanour, I have loved every minute of it,” said the Australian. “It is a great challenge in the Premier League, and taking over a big club. I have enjoyed it all season and I have some pretty lofty ambitions for the football club.”

The visitors were shaky early on at Bramall Lane as Ben Brereton Diaz fired over for the Blades in the opening two minutes and struck the post with an effort on the stretch.

But Spurs scored the opener with their first attack as Son Heung-min picked out Dejan Kulusevski’s run into the box and the midfielder drilled a cool finish into the far corner.

The Sweden international should have added to his tally shortly after but was denied by Wes Foderingham’s sharp save low down, while centre-back Cristian Romero struck a post.

Pedro Porro smashed in a scorching first-time finish to double Spurs’ lead in the second half, before Kulusevski managed to slide home his second of the game to condemn Sheffield United to their 28th defeat of an abysmal campaign.

In a season that promised so much in the opening few months, Spurs will regard their final position as a disappointment having gone – at the end of October – five points clear at the top of the table.

But a winless November and five defeats in their last seven games meant a return to the Champions League was out of reach by the end.

Postecoglou has delivered an improvement on the eighth-placed finish last term but concerns are starting to develop after calling out the “fragility” around the club and taking aim at supporters celebrating Manchester City’s goals against their own team on Tuesday night.

That result dented north London rivals Arsenal’s title ambitions and City’s victory over West Ham on Sunday meant Pep Guardiola’s side retained the trophy in Manchester.

That was not lost on the Spurs fans in attendance at Bramall Lane, chanting “shame about the Arsenal, ole ole…” as the scorelines filtered through from Etihad Stadium and Emirates Stadium.

Postecoglou said: “It has been good, eventful and a bit of everything. I am obviously not delighted with how we finished the season but we have been in the top five all year. We finished eighth last season and we have been competitive for the most part. I have had maximum effort from everyone.”

Spurs must assess during the close season how they can improve, and now head straight to Australia as they face Newcastle in a post-season friendly in Melbourne on Wednesday.

In between their goals, Spurs should have racked up a sizeable scoreline in south Yorkshire but Rodrigo Bentancur struck the woodwork and home goalkeeper Foderingham – on his last Sheffield United appearance – made impressive full-stretch saves to deny Son and Porro.

The final whistle drew to a close a thoroughly miserable season for Sheffield United, who will go down as one of the worst sides in Premier League history.

A campaign that started terribly with nine defeats and a draw in their opening 10 games left the Blades blunted at the bottom of the pile and staring at an inevitable return to the Championship.

The returning Chris Wilder could not arrest the slide after replacing Paul Heckingbottom in December as the team ended up winning only three of their games and picking up just 16 points – with only Sunderland (15) and Derby faring worse (11).

They have shipped 104 goals, the highest total in Premier League history and their goal difference of -69 is matched only by the dismal Derby side of 2007-08 which also finished rooted to the bottom.

Wilder has pointed to a big summer, and five exiting players including club legends Chris Basham, Ollie Norwood and Chris Baldock, as well as Foderingham and Max Lowe, waved goodbye at full-time as the club bid farewell to the top flight.

Wilder said: “The first half an hour summed our season up and after that there is a familiarity of what happened. We had some great chances and were the better side against a quality team with the magnitude of Spurs.

“We have not got enough personality in the team to put the opposition to bed. Goals change the atmosphere, it was positive before the game, it was a beautiful day when we got up and the sun was shining but hasn’t been a beautiful season.”

source – BBC

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English Premier League

Luton Town 2-4 Fulham

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Luton Town 2-4 Fulham

Luton Town 2-4 Fulham. Raul Jimenez scored twice as Fulham beat relegated Luton Town at Kenilworth Road on the final day of the Premier League season.

Adama Traore produced an unerring finish into the bottom corner as Fulham took the lead just before the break.

But after Calvin Bassey was adjudged to have fouled Chiedozie Ogbene, Carlton Morris rolled home a penalty to equalise.

Jimenez restored Fulham’s lead deep into first-half added time, slotting in a first-time effort from Harry Wilson’s pass.

The Mexico international then got in front of the Luton defence and headed home his second from a Harrison Reed free-kick minutes after the interval.

Alfie Doughty’s free-kick reduced the deficit but Marco Silva’s side restored their two-goal advantage when Wilson curled into the top corner from the edge of the box.

Luton can be proud of their general performances across the season, but their defending on the final day showed exactly why they will be returning to the Championship.

To underline the point, there were just 67 seconds between their equaliser and Fulham’s second goal.

The Hatters conceded 85 league goals this season – with only Sheffield United (104) and Darmstadt (86) letting in more across Europe’s top five leagues.

But while Luton failed to win any of their final six games, they did score in each of their last seven – highlighting the fact they did not go down without a fight.

Morris’ penalty meant he finished the season with 11 league goals – more than any other Luton player. Doughty, another of their top performers, signed off with his second goal of the season.

Their fans stayed behind long after the final whistle to ensure the players returned to the pitch to rapturous applause.

Rob Edwards’ side may have had a brief stay in the division but there is no doubt it has been a memorable one.

Speaking after the match, the Luton boss said: “We are a special club. We have got unique support – we have had that all season long. Everyone that has travelled has shown their best.

“We have given our best this year and ultimately we have just come up short. If one game could almost tell a season’s story, that would be today.

“We showed really good moments, created chances, didn’t take them, conceded from a mistake, then were punished with a brilliant finish, equalised and then conceded straight after.

“Full of endeavour, some really good quality at times as well, but just a little bit too fragile.”

Wilson was sublime against a Luton side who were unable to cope with him.

The Welsh winger scored once and provided two assists – becoming the first Fulham player to have three ‘direct goal contributions’ in a Premier League match since Dimitar Berbatov against Arsenal in November 2012.

He cut inside and passed to Traore for Fulham’s opener and found Jimenez in space for his first goal.

After the break, he struck the crossbar after Reed’s clever backheel from a free-kick.

But eight minutes later he scored the goal his performance deserved, curling home as Fulham finished the season with a flourish.

Fulham boss Silva said: “Some very good goals from ourselves.

“The fourth goal is another good example, a great open-play moment from us and a great goal from ourselves.

“There were some very good individual performances and the collective performance was good as well. We deserved [the result], we were the best team on the pitch.

“Unfortunately, we conceded two goals that we should avoid as well, but three points to end the season, away from home, it was important.”

source – BBC

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Liverpool 2-0 Wolves

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Liverpool 2-0 Wolves

Liverpool 2-0 Wolves. Jurgen Klopp’s final game as Liverpool manager ended with victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers amid emotional scenes at Anfield.

Liverpool’s fans made it their business to dedicate the whole occasion to giving thanks and paying tribute to the manager who has brought such success to the club in a nine-year reign.

And Klopp’s players delivered their part of the bargain with a comfortable three points in an atmosphere that was part carnival and part a sad farewell to the German, who was given a rapturous reception before kick-off and serenaded throughout.

Liverpool owner John W Henry flew in from Boston to pay his own tribute to Klopp, whose crowning achievements were winning the Champions League in 2019 – the club’s sixth win in the tournament – and their first league title in 30 years the following season.

The game itself was almost a sideshow.

Alexis Mac Allister headed Liverpool ahead in the 34th minute from Harvey Elliott’s cross, and Jarell Quansah added a second from almost on the goalline six minutes later as they finished the season third in the Premier League after winning the Carabao Cup.

The goals came after Wolves had Nelson Semedo sent off by referee Chris Kavanagh after a video assistant referee review for a high challenge on Mac Allister.

The Kop led the deafening tributes to Klopp as he cut a low-key-figure during the game, rarely prowling the touchline, preferring to stay seated alongside his loyal long-term assistants Peter Krawietz and Pep Lijnders, who will both leave Anfield with him.

It will now be the task of Klopp’s successor Arne Slot to build on the outstanding legacy he will take up.

This was a day that more about Klopp than Liverpool’s result or performance – but it was fitting the manager who has overseen so many memorable victories at Anfield should sign off his nine-year reign with a win.

Liverpool’s fans delivered a flavour of what lay in store as thousands lined Anfield Road to greet Klopp at the head of the team coach, and the manager was given a predictably rapturous reception as he came out for the warm-up.

Before kick-off, Liverpool’s fans unveiled mosaics on three sides of Anfield – one stretching along the length of the Sir Kenny Dalglish Stand reading simply ‘Jurgen’ while another in the Anfield Road stated ‘Danke’.

Klopp listened intently to a rousing rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone’ before embracing his backroom team one by one as they joined him on the bench.

The manager’s name was chanted throughout the first half but the volume was really turned up as the clock ticked down to the moment when it was time for Klopp to take his bows.

This was Klopp’s 491st match in charge and his 299th win, losing only 12 of 167 Premier League games at Anfield.

Klopp’s remarkable record has written him into Liverpool legend, as could be seen the tears, smiles and raw emotion that played out throughout the game.

The good news for Slot is Klopp has left him a squad in fine shape to push for further success with a blend of world-class stars and emerging youngsters for the coach, who is coming from Feyenoord, to take on next season.

This, however, was Klopp’s day and the Kop left him in no doubt how much they loved him and how much he will be missed.

source – BBC

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