Chelsea have qualified for the Champions League on the final day of the Premier League season after Leicester lost 4-2 in their final game against Tottenham.
A Kasper Schmeichel’s own goal and two late Gareth Bale strikes at the King Power stadium allowed Chelsea to squeeze into the lucrative competition despite their 2-1 away loss at Aston Villa in the 38th matchday.
As a result, the Blues will not be relying on their upcoming Champions League final clash with Manchester City to secure next year’s spot as their league performance was just enough to finish top four.
The Blues went 2-0 down at Villa Park after both Bertrand Traore and Anwar El Ghazi scored, with Ben Chilwell’s 70th-minute strike not enough to avoid defeat.
Thomas Tuchel’s side spent much of the 90 minutes outside the top four in the live table and pushed to secure at least a draw by bringing both Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech on from the bench.
Making matters slightly worse, Cesar Azpilicueta got a late red card for slapping Jack Grealish in the face, which signified the emotions on show in the Midlands.
However, even after a host of missed chances, they couldn’t find an equaliser and needed help from their London rivals to get over the line in the league.
Tuchel had been charged with securing the club revenues through a Champions League finish when there were doubts about qualification for any European competition next season.
Indeed, the west London club would earn as much as £112 million ($160m) in revenue from accumulated revenue should they beat Manchester City in the upcoming Champions League final on 29 May.
In securing a top-four finish, they get another shot at earning those revenues next season, with a certain windfall guaranteed for reaching the group stage of the competition.
Tuchel confirms Mendy will have a scan after colliding with the post: “We will do everything so he is in between the posts on Saturday.”
Adds that Chelsea were lucky to have been helped by Tottenham.
With Liverpool having won 2-0 at home to Crystal Palace on the final day, Jurgen Klopp’s side leapfrogged Chelsea into third. Yet, Chelsea secured fourth with Leicester to play in the Europa League again next season.
West Ham secured the other Europa League spot, while Spurs’ win got them a spot in the inaugural UEFA Conference League even after Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Brighton.