Home Sport Soccer Villa survive as Bournemouth, Watford go down

Villa survive as Bournemouth, Watford go down

Aston Villa retained the Premier League status in a nervy 1-1 draw with West Ham on Sunday. Picture: Reuters

Aston Villa preserved their Premier League status with a nerve-racking 1-1 draw at West Ham United on Sunday – a result that meant they finished one point above the relegation zone.

Captain Jack Grealish thought he had won it for Villa when he fired past Lukasz Fabianski in the 84th minute, but West Ham hit back almost immediately through Andriy Yarmolenko.

With Bournemouth winning at Everton, Dean Smith’s Villa knew that defeat would send them down but they held on.

Villa had been in the bottom three since February until their midweek win over Arsenal left their fate in their own hands. While they could not grab the victory, Watford’s loss at Arsenal ensured a second successive season in the top flight.

Watford were relegated from the Premier League, but went down fighting in a 3-2 loss at Arsenal, almost clawing their way back from a three-goal deficit largely thanks to former Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck.

The visitors got off to a nightmare start when defender Craig Dawson brought down Alexandre Lacazette in the area in the third minute to concede a penalty, which Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted.

Arsenal doubled their lead in the 24th minute when Kieran Tierney’s shot brushed the arm of Watford midfielder Will Hughes for an own-goal, and Aubameyang poured on the misery 10 minutes later with an unchallenged overhead kick from close range to make it 3-0.

Watford were given hope of a way back into the game shortly before the break when Welbeck, who left Arsenal to join Watford last year, won a penalty for the visitors after being scythed down by David Luiz.

Hornets captain Troy Deeney drilled his spotkick past Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to reduce the deficit.

Welbeck then narrowed the gap further in the 65th minute, tapping home from close range after a cross from Ismaila Sarr. But the visitors were unable to find another goal.

Junior Stanislas scored a fine solo goal as Bournemouth fought gallantly, but ended their five-year stay in the Premier League with an entertaining 3-1 victory over Everton at Goodison Park.

The visitors needed three points to have a chance of survival and put on an excellent display. However, Villa’s draw at West Ham sealed the fate of the south coast side, who finished with 34 points, one shy of safety.

Josh King gave the visitors the lead from the penalty spot after 13 minutes, but Everton drew level before halftime through Moise Kean as the home team enjoyed the majority of possession.

But after Dominic Solanke restored their lead, Stanislas gave Bournemouth a two-goal cushion late in the second half.

It was just a second win in 13 matches for Bournemouth, and a first away since victory at Chelsea in December. However, their nine losses on the road since then went a long way to sealing their return to the Championship.

Everton ended their disappointing campaign in 12th position, with much work for manager Carlo Ancelotti to do on the training ground, and perhaps the transfer market, in the short pre-season period before the start of the new campaign on September 12. The win was a first at Goodison Park for Bournemouth and a first home defeat for Everton since November, but that will be scant consolation for Cherries manager Eddie Howe. 


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