Solskjaer: Table doesn’t lie

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says that the table doesn't lie and his side don't deserve to finish in the top four of the Premier League.

United will have to compete in the Europa League rather than the Champions League next season, their fate confirmed with failure to beat already relegated Huddersfield.

To still be in contention for a top-four finish United had to win in West Yorkshire and took an early lead through Scott McTominay.

However, Town who had only managed four points from their previous 23 games, ensured they leave the Premier League on a high, getting an equaliser from Isaac Mbenza.

United went close to regaining the lead, Paul Pogba hitting the bar, but they couldn't find a winner and look certain to finish a disappointing season in sixth position.

Solskjaer had overseen a dramatic run of form when taking over at Old Trafford from Jose Mourinho. However recent form has seen them drop out of top-four contention once again, going five games without a win after the draw in West Yorkshire.

Solskjaer afterwards gave no excuses and said his team hadn't been good enough throughout the season to warrant a place in the Champions League.

He said: "We haven't deserved to be top four, we've chased the pack and been given chances, the league is so tight. When we got the opportunities we didn't take them. The table doesn't lie in the end.

"It hurts whenever you don't win a game of football. In a stadium like this with loads of energy, their last game of the season at home, we gave them some hope and we couldn't reach our level again."

United will finish their season next weekend when relegated Cardiff are the visitors to Old Trafford.

United are 1/7 to finish the campaign with a victory while Neil Warnock's side are 14/1 and the draw is priced at 7/1.

United are 9/1 to win next season's Premier League with Liverpool 3/1 and Manchester City 8/11.

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Sarri determined to keep fighting

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri said his side will need to fight until the last minute of their final match in their bid to secure Champions League football next season.

He was speaking after his side took a huge step towards securing a place in the top four of the Premier League with a 3-0 win over Watford at Stamford Bridge.

The win takes Chelsea third in the table, going above Tottenham with the win and another victory on the final day, away to Leicester, will mean a return to the Champions League next term.

FA Cup finalists Watford were in the game at half-time, having had chances of their own to take the lead, through Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu.

However the home side scored two goals in three minutes to take charge, Ruben Loftus-Cheek getting the first with a header and David Luiz heading in to double their lead.

Victory was sealed by a third from Gonzalo Higuain and Chelsea will be sure of a top-four finish if Arsenal fail to beat Brighton later on Sunday.

Manchester United's own bid for Champions League football was ended after they failed to beat relegated Huddersfield and they will have to settle for Europa League football next season.

Afterwards Sarri insisted his side will keep fighting to make sure of a place in the top-four.

He said: "We don't know about Champions League, we have to wait for Arsenal but probably we have to go to our last match to try to win. We have to fight until the last minute of the last match."

Sarri could not give any guarantees over Higuain's future at Chelsea beyond the end of the season. The striker joined Sarri's side in January on loan from Juventus and his manager was unable to say whether he will remain at Stamford Bridge.

"I don't know about Gonzalo Higuain's future, you have to ask the club," Sarri added.

"It's not easy to adapt to this competition because it's different physically. If he's staying then we can do very well in the next season."

Chelsea have another chance to secure Champions League football by winning this season's Europa League and they are into the semi-finals where they are tied with Eintracht Frankfurt after the first-leg in Germany.

The teams meet again in London on Thursday with Chelsea 4/11 to win with Frankfurt 13/2.

Chelsea are 10/11 to win the competition this season with Arsenal 15/8 and Frankfurt 10/1.

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Silva: Europe should be our aim

Marco Silva insists Everton should start every season believing they can qualify for the Champions League or Europa League.

Everton have not finished in the top six since the 2013/14 campaign and may miss out on a place in Europe again this term as they are currently ninth with two games of the season left.

Wolves are seventh, four points ahead of Everton, while Leicester are eighth.

Silva, who has revealed that Yerry Mina and Theo Walcott are fit to face Burnley on Friday, said: "We have to keep doing our job, fighting to achieve the points, and after we will see the position of the table.

"It's not something that is just in our hands. But the European competitions, for us as a club it has to be our aim.

"Let's see what we can do this season or not but for the next one and all the others coming it has to be our aim, 100 per cent. We have to play every single season in European competitions for us to keep growing as a club as putting our players at that level is our aim as a football club."

Mina hasn't played for the club since picking up a hamstring injury in Colombia's 2-1 friendly defeat to South Korea in March while Walcott had been suffering from a bug.

Silva said of the duo: "They're OK, they are working with the team. They are fit and, depending on my decisions, are available for the match."

Everton can be backed at 8/13 to beat Burnley and at 8/1 to edge to a 2-1 win against the Clarets.

Sarri’s two big targets

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has challenged his players to end the season on a high after an often troubled first season in charge.

The Italian's methods have been questioned by supporters at times but the club are still in a good position to secure Champions League football next season.

The winners of the Europa League qualify and Sarri's team are in the semi-finals of the competition, the first-leg taking place against Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany on Thursday night.

Chelsea are also well placed to qualify through a top-four place in the Premier League, currently sitting fourth in the table two points clear of Arsenal and three ahead of Manchester United.

So there is plenty to play for in the final weeks of the campaign and, as the Blues travel to Germany, Sarri said: "We are fighting for the top four and in semi-final of the Europa League. We have done a good season.

"Now we need to take two very important targets."

In training before their flight Antonio Rudiger and Callum Hudson-Odoi were the only players missing with both expected to be out for the rest of the season.

However Maurizio Sarri would have been boosted by the sight of Willian participating after picking up an injury in the draw at Manchester United at the weekend.

Chelsea are 17/10 to win the first-leg in Germany with Frankfurt 9/5 and the draw is priced at 12/5.

The second-leg of the semi-final is at Stamford Bridge next Thursday. Chelsea are at 6/4 to win the Europa League this season with Frankfurt 11/2. The winner goes on to play either Arsenal or Valencia in the final in Baku, Azerbaijan at the end of the month.

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Spurs suffer top-four blow

Tottenham's chances of finishing the season in the top-four of the Premier League suffered a blow after a first defeat at their new stadium.

West Ham won the London derby 1-0 thanks to a well taken goal from Michail Antonio and it leaves Spurs still needing points to be sure of Champions League football again next season.

Mauricio Pochettino's side stay third in the table but Chelsea and Arsenal are just three and four points behind respectively with a game in hand.

Pochettino admitted his side were in a fight for the top-four and conceded there were aspects of his side's play which weren't good enough against the Hammers.

He said after the game: "I think we did not manage the ball properly. It was a difficult game but in the second half we conceded a lot of space for them to counter attack. But we need to look forward. We cannot stop to think about what we did not do today.

"We can't dominate like against Brighton, first half was good but we lost the ball too easily in the second half. We arrived for this game in a different condition and that was an important factor in the second half. It was really tough today."

The result was however a boost for West Ham who recovered after a run of four games without a win. The three points means they remain 11th in the table, representing a reasonable first season in charge for Mauel Pellegrini.

Spurs meanwhile put their top-four ambitions on hold in midweek as they begin their quest for a place in this season's Champions League final.

They are back at home on Tuesday night when Ajax visit in the first-leg of their semi-final. Spurs are 6/5 to win the home leg with Ajax 21/10 and the draw is 12/5.

Spurs are 4/1 to win the Champions League while Barcelona, playing Liverpool in the other semi-final, are 6/4.

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Liverpool hold nerve at Cardiff

A goalless first 45 minutes could have increased the nerves for Liverpool but two goals duly came in the second half as they beat Cardiff 2-0 to return to the top of the Premier League.

After Manchester City went top after beating Tottenham on Saturday, Jurgen Klopp's side needed victory in Wales to go back above them and missed a number of first half chances.

However, they held their nerve to dominate the second period and win the game to go back top.

Liverpool should have taken the lead midway through the first half, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane combining to set up Roberto Firmino who was clear on goal but fired over when he should have hit the target.

On half an hour Trent Alexander-Arnold produced an excellent cross which Mane was able to reach but he couldn't direct his shot which went over the bar.

Soon after, when Liverpool did get a shot in, from Salah, Cardiff keeper Neil Etheridge was on hand to make a good save.

Most of the pressure was one-way but Cardiff did have an opportunity before the break, Oumar Niasse getting a shot in from a corner but Alisson saved well in the Liverpool goal.

Half-time came with the score goalless but Liverpool were soon on the attack after the restart, Georginio Wijnaldum finding Mane whose shot clipped the top of the net before going over.

Wijnaldum was again involved minutes later, giving the visitors the lead, Alexander-Arnold sending over a corner and the Dutchman found space in the area to fire home from close range to the joy and relief of the away fans at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Neil Warnock's side should have quickly equalised when Sean Morrison was gifted the ball from a corner after Alisson fumbled the ball but the defender, presented with a free header, failed to connect properly and the danger was alleviated.
 
Morrison was to pay for his miss soon after when he was adjudged to have fouled Salah in the box and Liverpool were awarded a penalty with James Milner making no mistake to double the visitors lead and they held on comfortably for another win that takes them onto 88 points.

Liverpool are two points clear at the top but Manchester City still have a game in hand and that takes place on Wednesday night at Old Trafford.

Manchester United, who lost to Everton on Sunday, are 5/1 to bounce back and puncture City's title bid while Pep Guardiola's side are 4/9 to win with the draw priced at 15/4.

City are 8/13 to retain the Premier League title with Liverpool available to be backed at 13/10.

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Arsenal pay for defensive errors

Arsenal missed the chance to leapfrog Tottenham and go third in the Premier League after suffering defeat at home to Crystal Palace.

Roy Hodgson's side won 3-2 at the Emirates with all three of their goals contributed to by poor Arsenal defending.

Christian Benteke's last goal came almost exactly a year ago but he fired the Eagles in front, poor Arsenal marking allowing him a header which beat Bernd Leno.

Arsenal saw appeals for a penalty waved away towards the end of the first half when a cross appeared to be blocked by the hand of Aaron Wan-Bissaka but the referee wasn't convinced.

Unai Emery rang the changes at half-time, bringing on Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Alex Iwobi and it paid dividends almost immediately, Iwobi getting involved, finding space and passing to Alexandre Lacazette who fed Mesut Ozil, the German beating Vicente Guaita at the near post.

That looked to be the goal to launch another three points for the home side but to the disbelief of the fans inside the Emirates it was Palace who struck back for a second just after the hour mark.

Again poor Arsenal defending was a contributory factor, Palace getting a free kick which was nodded on by Benteke, it should have been dealt with by Shkodran Mustafi but he left it for his keeper and in the confusion Wilfried Zaha nipped in to get the ball past Leno and into the net.

Palace increased their lead on 69 minutes and it was another set-piece which caused problems in the Gunners box, Luka Milivojevic sending in a free-kick which was nodded on by Scott Dann and James McArthur headed in from close range.

The Gunners did reduce the deficit, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang going past two defenders, Joel Ward tried to clear but the ball fell back to the striker and he found the corner of the net.

However, Arsenal couldn't find an equaliser and therefore miss the chance to put distance between themselves and rivals in the race for a top four finish.

The Gunners stay fourth but they are ahead of Chelsea only on goal difference with Manchester United two points behind in sixth.

Emery's side are back in action on Wednesday night when they travel to Wolves and are 6/4 for the win with the home side 7/4 and the draw 23/10.

Arsenal are 10/11 to secure a place in the top four with Manchester United 5/1.

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Solskjaer: United way off

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted that his side are now outsiders for a top four finish and are "way off" where he wants the team to be.

Solskjaer was speaking after watching his side lose 4-0 away at Everton, United as poor as the Toffees were excellent.

Everton opened the scoring on 13 minutes, Richarlison, who had earlier forced David de Gea into a good save, made no mistake with an overhead kick after a flick-on from Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

It was a deserved lead for the Toffees and it was doubled just before the half-hour mark, with an excellent strike from Gylfi Sigurdsson from about 25 yards out.

Solskjaer made two changes at half-time to try and improve, Ashley Young and Scott McTominay replacing Phil Jones and Fred but the home side made the game safe 10 minutes into the second period, Lucas Digne scoring with a half-volley into the bottom corner.

Everton made it four midway through the half, substitute Theo Walcott getting into the action, getting a ball from Sigurdsson and slotting past De Gea.

United, in response, forced a little pressure on Jordan Pickford's goal, but they failed to get even a consolation with Solskjaer's honeymoon period well and truly over.

It was their fifth successive away defeat in all competitions which includes their loss to Barcelona in midweek. a result that saw them knocked out of the Champions League and they are in fight to qualify for the tournament next season.

Their defeat at Goodison Park keeps them sixth in the Premier League with four games remaining in the race to finish in the top four.

Solskjaer offered no excuses after another damaging defeat, telling Sky Sports: "We're way off where we want to be. When you lose in the league like we did here, everyone sees that we have a big job to do.

"This club has been down before, we've just got to pick ourselves up. It might not happen overnight, but it's going to happen."

Everton are up to seventh in the table and that would be good enough for Europa League football next season if Manchester City beat Watford in next month's FA Cup final.

United attempt to bounce back with a Manchester derby on Wednesday night, seeking to hurt City's title hopes in the process. United are 5/1 to win at Old Trafford with City 4/9 and the draw 15/4.

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Gracia defends players

Watford boss Javi Gracia has defended Ben Foster and Troy Deeney after his team lost at home to Arsenal 1-0 in the Premier League.

Despite being the better team for long spells at Vicarage Road, the Hornets were undone by a goal after just ten minutes when Foster took too long in goal when receiving a backpass, allowing Pierre Emerick Aubameyang to get the ball and tap home.

Watford's chances of getting back into the game were reduced further just a minute later when skipper Deeney was sent off for violent conduct.

The home side would have moved up to seventh with three points, with that position guaranteeing Europa League football next season if Watford lose to Manchester City in the FA Cup final next month.

However, despite what could be a costly defeat, Gracia after the game, refused to blame either player.

He said: "When we win and one player scores a goal, every player is happy and all the team is happy.

"We are a team. We enjoy together and suffer together, it's not only about one player, it's about the team and we are not waiting for the moment to point to one player.

"It's the moment to be together and to know, with ten players, with the circumstances we've had today, we were able to compete really well against this team."

The loss means Watford stay 10th in the table but are just one point off seventh with Leicester, Wolves and Everton also in the race for seventh spot and the possibility of European football.

The result moved Arsenal back into the top four, above Chelsea. With Manchester City and Liverpool guaranteed Champions League football next season, Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United are competing for the other two spots.

Watford attempt to bounce back on Saturday when they travel to already relegated Huddersfield. They are 8/11 for the win with the Terriers 7/2 and the draw is priced at 11/4.

The Hornets are 4/1 to win the FA Cup next month while Manchester City can be backed at 1/6.

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Silva in race for seventh

Everton manager Marco Silva says he is focused on getting the results between now and the end of the season to achieve seventh place in the Premier League table.

A seventh place finish will be good enough for Europa League football next season if Manchester City win the FA Cup at Wembley next month and the Toffees approach the final few games of the season in good form.

Silva's team have won their last three league games, beating Chelsea, West Ham and Arsenal and sit ninth in the table with the race for seventh looking to be a four-horse race with Leicester, Wolves, Everton and Watford separated by a solitary point.

The Toffees travel to already relegated Fulham on Saturday and, at a press conference ahead of the game, Silva said there was plenty left to play for between now and the end of the season.

He said: "We have to keep fighting to achieve the best position possible in the table. This is most important for us. Our goal is to improve on the season before and we will keep doing that to the end of the season. Then we will see what it means for us."

Everton are 3/4 to win at Craven Cottage on Saturday with Fulham 15/4 and the draw 13/5.

Silva also commented on summer transfer plans, saying that he hoped to keep Kurt Zouma and Andre Gomes at the club.

The pair are on loan from Chelsea and Barcelona respectively and, while the Everton boss said their future was out of his hands, he hoped a way could be found to keep them at Goodison Park beyond the end of the season.

He added that he was not worried about speculation linking midfielder Idrissa Gueye with Manchester United. With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer set to lose Ander Herrera in the summer, Gueye has been mentioned as a replacement, but Silva said he wouldn't comment on rumours.

Gueye is 15/2 to score at any time against Fulham while Everton are priced at 17/2 to win the game 2-0.

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