Championship Sunday roundup: Chelsea crowned, Liverpool secures UCL spot

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Antonio Conte‘s successful first season at Stamford Bridge concluded in style on Championship Sunday as Chelsea — the 2016/17 Premier League winners — ended their title-winning campaign with a convincing win in front of their home supporters.

With everything else to play for essentially locked up heading into the final day, the most attention was on Anfield and the Emirates Stadium as both Liverpool and Arsenal fought in their respective matches to capture the fourth and final Champions League spot.

Meanwhile, finishes were aplenty on the day as 37 goals came in on Sunday, including Tottenham’s seven-goal outburst at Hull City.

Here’s a final look back at Championship Sunday and a brief recap of the results that came in from all 10 matches:

[ MORE: All of PST’s Championship Sunday coverage ]

Chelsea 5-1 SunderlandRECAP

It’s only fitting that the Blues went out in style on Sunday after already capturing the league. The win over already-relegated Sunderland brought Chelsea’s victory tally up to 30 on the season, a new Premier League record. Conte’s men fell behind after three minutes, but from there, it was smooth sailing as Willian, Eden Hazard, Pedro and Michy Batshuayi‘s brace gave the home side a thrilling send off to the PL campaign.

Chelsea’s next step will be to clinch the double next weekend when the champions take on fellow Londoners, Arsenal, in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

Hull City 1-7 Tottenham HotspurRECAP

In many other seasons Tottenham’s performance would have won them a title, but Spurs still ended the season in fantastic style away from home. Harry Kane cemented his place as Golden Boot winner for the second straight season after recording a hat-trick at the KCOM Stadium on Sunday.

Meanwhile, goals also came in from Dele Alli, Ben Davies, Toby Alderweireld, and Victor Wanyama as Spurs destroyed the hosts, who will fall to the Championship next season following relegation.

Watford 0-5 Manchester CityRECAP

The Citizens needed just a point on Sunday to ensure a top four finish, and Pep Guardiola‘s side took no risks against the Hornets with a dominating performance on the road. Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho found the back of the net at Vicarage Road, as Manchester City finishes third in Guardiola’s first PL season.

Liverpool 3-0 MiddlesbroughRECAP

It was the only major battle of the day but Liverpool needed a victory to keep Arsenal out of the UCL, and the Reds did just that with a strong performance at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp‘s side captured fourth place and a spot in next season’s UCL behind goals from Georginio WijnaldumPhilippe Coutinho, and Adam Lallana, while Middlesbrough’s PL run officially came to an end on Sunday as they go back down to the Championship in 2017/18.

Arsenal 3-1 EvertonRECAP

The Gunners took care of business at the Emirates, despite playing with 10 men most of the day, but Liverpool’s victory guaranteed that Arsenal would miss out on the UCL for the first time in Arsene Wenger‘s tenure. Goals from Hector Bellerin, Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey paced the hosts, even after Laurent Koscielny was sent off in the 14th minute. Romelu Lukaku‘s second-half penalty brought the scoreline to 2-1 with over half an hour remaining, but Everton couldn’t crack the Arsenal back line for a second time.

Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Manchester United 2-0 Crystal PalaceRECAP

It was the youngsters that starred for Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford, and although there wasn’t much to play for from either side’s perspective, Josh Harrop certainly made an impression on the Red Devils supporters. The 21-year-old recorded his first Manchester United goal on Sunday (becoming United’s 100th different PL goalscorer), while Paul Pogba doubled the lead for the hosts prior to halftime.

A win for United in Wednesday’s UEFA Europa League final would give Mourinho’s men a lift into next season’s UCL, despite finishing outside the PL top four.

Southampton 0-1 Stoke CityRECAP

Peter Crouch tallied his 50th headed goal of his PL career on Sunday to give Stoke a narrow victory at St. Mary’s. Southampton finishes inside the top 10 (8th place) despite the loss, while the Potters end up in 13th with their 11th win of the season.

Leicester City 1-1 BournemouthRECAP

It was a tumultuous campaign for the Foxes, but a draw on Sunday pretty much summed up their overall season. Average. It certainly wasn’t anything like their Cinderella feat from a season ago but Leicester will be back in the PL next year, and that’s all that really matters. Junior Stanislas scored in his third consecutive match for the Cherries, but Jamie Vardy‘s 13th finish of the season registered a point for Leicester, who finish the second in 12th position.

Burnley 1-2 West Ham UnitedRECAP

Sofiane Feghouli and Andre Ayew gave the Hammers something to cheer about on the final day, however, the London side fell just shy of a top-half finish. West Ham ends the 2016/17 season in 11th while Burnley survives to reach another PL season after finishing in 16th position.

Swansea City 2-1 West Bromwich AlbionRECAP

Paul Clement has to be proud of the way his Swans performed to close out the season, and they’ll have a PL stay as proof of it next season. The hosts went down thanks to a Jonny Evans finish, but goals from Jordan Ayew and Fernando Llorente gave Swansea its 12th victory of the season and a 15th place finish in the PL. Meanwhile, West Brom closes their campaign with a finish in the top 10.

Championship Focus: Bluebirds flying, Villa second-last

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The wild 46-game slate that is the Football League Championship is already howling, with all 24 teams three matches deep into their campaigns toward Premier League promotion (or avoiding relegation to League One).

The three clubs relegated from the Premier League last season all sit within the Top 8 after three match days. Sunderland is unbeaten with a win and two draws, while Hull City is 1-1-1.

[ MORE: Barcelona falls to Real… again ]

Middlesbrough has two wins from three matches, three points behind three sides who’ve started a perfect 3-0.

Wolves and Ipswich Town are two of the three, and Cardiff City leads the way. Owner Vincent Tan has seen his club score six goals without conceding once in defeats of Burton Albion, Aston Villa, and Sheffield United.

Burton is 0-3, while Steve Bruce‘s Villa is just one point better and sits 23rd.

As for individual superlatives, Bristol City’s Bobby Reid has four goals to lead the league while familiar names Lewis Grabban (Sunderland) and Abel Hernandez (Hull City) are among a quartet of players to score thrice.

Meanwhile, PL transfer target Jota of Brentford continues to impress with three assists through three matches. Will he remain in the second tier by the close of the transfer window?

MLS Snapshot: Montreal Impact 3-0 Chicago Fire

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The game in 100 words (or less)Ignacio Piatti is very good at soccer, and Chicago backstop Matt Lampson is going to see him deep into his dreams. Piatti beat Lampson up close on a turnover and then, with Montreal ahead 2-0 off a PK, the Argentine curled a surprise shot from distance around the keeper. Game, set, match, and it wasn’t even halftime. The loss keeps Chicago from using its match-in-hand to catch second place New York City FC, while the three points move Montreal to within two points of the East’s final playoff position.

Three moments that mattered

6′ — Piatti starts the party — Gifted a chance with the keeper by a sloppy missed clearing attempt, the Argentine deftly pops the ball over Fire keeper Matt Lampson.

36′ — Lampson hurts his cause — Chicago’s backstop wasn’t at fault on the opening goal, but he was for the second. After chopping down Matteo Mancosu in the box, Lampson guessed wrong on the striker’s penalty kick and the Fire went down 2-0.

38′ — It’s not your night, Lamps — Pretty sure you can anyone named Lampson, Lamps. Anyway, this time it was one of MLS’ top newcomers who set up Piatti for a goal. “Nacho” has his 12th of the season thanks to Blerim Dzemaili, and my goodness did Piatti do well here.

Man of the Match: Piatti.

Forbes ranks the top supporters in Major League Soccer

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Forbes claims the shared honor will give two Cascadia Cup rivals one less thing to argue about, but we completely disagree.

The celebrated magazine says their metrics show the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders tied for the honor of who has the best fans in Major League Soccer.

The post says the determination was made through four factors: attendance, local TV ratings, merchandise sales, and social media followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Attendance was weighted heaviest, which certainly gives Atlanta United hope to go charging up the rankings in the future. For now, the “Five Stripes” are not included in the list.

The Galaxy finish third in the rankings, while the sixth-place New York Red Bulls edge New York City FC by one spot.

For the report and full explanation, head here.

Europa League preview: Everton, Milan, Marseille take next steps

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The UEFA Europa League playoff round takes full flight Thursday, a day after Utrecht struck a blow for the Eredivisie with a 1-0 win over Zenit Saint-Petersburg in a Wednesday first leg.

Premier League participants Everton will be seeking a result at home against Hajduk Split, the third-place team from Croatia’s top flight.

Gylfi Sigurdsson passed his medical at Goodison Park but will not be available for Everton on Thursday.

[ MORE: Barcelona falls to Real… again ]

As for the match, manager Ronald Koeman knows the Thursday matchdays for the UEL will try his club’s endurance and depth. From EvertonFC.com:

“We know English teams have some problems. I think it is more mental than physical because if you play in the Champions League – so Wednesday and Saturday – you have the same amount of days to recover. I try to put out the strongest team to start the game. That will take into account the tactical aspects of each game. That will mean different players start and different options in terms of substitutions.”

Captained by Zoran Nizic and managed by Joan Carrillo, Hajduk has a young star in the making in the form of 19-year-old attacking midfielder Nikola Vlasic, but Everton is heavily favored at home with Hajduk given 12:1 odds by bookmakers.

[ MORE: Barca GM says Coutinho, Dembele “close” ]

Those numbers are a relative sure thing compared to AC Milan’s visitors. Macedonia club Shkendija are a 33:1 underdog for its trip to Italy.

Elsewhere, Slovenian side Domzale is a longshot at home to visiting Marseille.

Speaking of bookmakers, Arsenal won’t enter the competition until the group stage but is considered the favorite to win the UEL by a hair over Milan. Everton, Villarreal, and Athletic Bilbao are level with third-best odds.

UEFA Europa League playoff first legs
Utrecht 1-0 Zenit — Weds.
BATE Borisov vs. Oleksandriya — 1 p.m. ET Thursday
Apollon Limassol vs. Midtjylland — 1 p.m.
Krasnodar vs. Red Star Belgrade — 1 p.m.
Dinamo Zagreb vs. Skenderbeu — 1 p.m.
FH vs. Braga — 1:45 p.m. ET Thursday
PAOK vs. Ostersund — 2 p.m. ET Thursday
Vardar vs. Fenerbahce — 2 p.m.
Plzen vs. AEK Lamaca — 2:15 p.m. ET Thursday
Altach vs. Maccabi Tel-Aviv — 2:30 p.m. ET Thursday
Ludogorets Razgrad vs. Suduva — 2:30 p.m.
Panathinaikos vs. Athletic Bilbao — 2:30 p.m.
Domzale vs. Marseille — 2:45 p.m. ET Thursday
Osijek vs. Austria Wien — 2:45 p.m.
Viitorul vs. Red Bull Salzburg — 2:45 p.m.
Ajax vs. Rosenborg — 2:45 p.m.
Legia Warsaw vs. Sheriff — 2:45 p.m.
AC Milan vs. Shkendija — 2:45 p.m.
Club Brugge vs. AEK — 2:45 p.m.
Partizan vs. Videoton — 3 p.m. ET Thursday
Everton vs. Hajduk Split — 3:05 p.m. ET Thursday
Maritimo vs. Dynamo Kyiv — 3:30 p.m. ET Thursday