Chelsea sneak into Champions League despite loss at Aston Villa

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Chelsea sneak into Champions League despite loss at Aston Villa

Chelsea secured their place in the Champions League despite a 2-1 at Aston Villa on the final matchday of the Premier League season.

The result means Thomas Tuchel’s side finish fourth in the league with 67 points after Leicester City lost to Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool beat Crystal Palace, and will not need to rely on winning next weekend’s Champions League final against Manchester City to return to the competition.

Despite Chelsea dominating most of the first half, Villa took the lead from a corner kick just before the break when former Chelsea man Bertrand Traore punched home a looping shot off the underside of the crossbar after being picked out by a smart rolled cross in the middle of the box.

Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy was injured on the play after crashing into the post in his desperate attempt to make a save, and was eventually removed at half-time for Blues’ backup Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Kepa was called on almost immediately when Villa were awarded a penalty in the 51st minute for a Jorginho clip on Traore. But the Spain keeper guessed wrong on Anwar El Ghazi’s spot kick, seemingly leaving Chelsea a mountain to climb to finish in the top four.

Timo Werner fired home in the 59th minute after Cesar Azpilicueta played him in with a cross, but VAR correctly ruled the Spain right-back offside before receiving the ball.

Chelsea got their goal 11 minutes later as Ben Chilwell turned home an inviting Christian Pulisic cross after a fine team move down the right side.

The Blues then got the help they needed in Leicester when a Kasper Schmeichel own goal and two late Gareth Bale strikes doomed the Foxes to fifth place at the King Power Stadium.

Azpilicueta was sent off in the 90th minute after a violent clash with Jack Grealish, and Chelsea finished the match with 10 men.