Epic finale: The Jaw-Dropping Final Day of the 2021-22 Premier League Season

Iconic.
By Savannah Moss
Image: Nathan Rogers | Unsplash

The final day of the 2021-22 Premier League season was a classic, with a number of storylines that needed to be wrapped up. From the top of the league to the bottom, there were positions to be secured and, with so much happening, it was the perfect occasion for fans to place a football accumulator.

Title race

Liverpool’s title challenge ran all the way to the final game, as they looked to overcome Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s side headed to Aston Villa, managed by former Reds skipper Steven Gerrard, with their fate in their own hands. Liverpool were hoping Gerrard’s side could do them a favour, but they needed a win at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers to take advantage of any slip up.

Things didn’t start well for Liverpool. After only three minutes, Pedro Neto put Wolves ahead at Anfield, and amidst all the talk of whether Liverpool would capitalise on a Man City capitulation, their focus was brought to the task of getting past Bruno Lage’s side. They managed that after 24 minutes, Sadio Mané finishing from a Thiago flick to bring Liverpool within a point of Man City.

Image: Fikri Rasyid | Unsplash

That deficit was soon gone, as Matty Cash scored with Villa’s first shot of the game. Man City were still ahead on goal difference, but another Liverpool goal would see them take top spot. Things didn’t change before half-time, with Liverpool drawing 1-1 at home to Wolves, and Man City 1-0 down to Aston Villa.

Sadio Mané thought he had picked up the vital goal for Liverpool in the 51st minute, but he was flagged offside, and the game remained level. The situation didn’t change until the 69th minute in Manchester, when former Liverpool man Philippe Coutinho doubled Villa’s lead with a low shot that beat Ederson. Liverpool were just one goal away from topping the table.

That was as close as they got, though. Seven minutes later, İlkay Gündoğan scored a header to pull a goal back for City. Within another two minutes, Rodri scored a second, bringing the game level, and City’s momentum meant the final outcome seemed inevitable. Gündoğan scored the third, only five minutes after his first, to take the title out of Liverpool’s grasp.

-Image: Fikri Rasyid | UnsplashMohamed Salah put Liverpool in the lead at Anfield, and Andy Robertson added a third, but there was nothing the Reds could do, as Guardiola’s side held onto their lead and saw out the game. Ten years after Sergio Agüero’s historic winner, Man City had once again come back from behind to win the league with a 3-2 win.

Relegation fight

Norwich City and Watford were already down heading into the final set of games, but Leeds United and Burnley were battling hard to avoid the final relegation spot. The teams were level on points, but Burnley’s superior goal difference meant that Leeds would need a better result at Brentford than the Clarets managed against Newcastle United if they were to stay up.

Burnley conceded to Newcastle after 20 minutes, with Callum Wilson scoring from the spot after a Nathan Collins handball, and they found themselves in 18th position at half time, 1-0 down while Leeds were drawing 0-0 with Brentford.

Things got worse for the Clarets in the second half, as Raphinha converted a penalty to give Leeds the lead, and five minutes later Newcastle doubled their lead with a second from Wilson. Burnley were looking at relegation, although Maxwel Cornet gave his team a lifeline with 20 minutes left.

There was more drama to come at Brentford, where Sergi Canos scored a header to bring the score level, and give Burnley hope, before being sent off a minute later. Burnley had a chance to save themselves, but they couldn’t find another goal. In the end, a point wouldn’t have been enough for the Clarets. Jack Harrison scored a 94th minute winner for Leeds, which all but ensured survival, and Leeds stayed up. Burnley’s six-year spell in the Premier League came to an end.

European spots

There were a couple of European spots to sort out on the final day. Tottenham Hotspur occupied fourth place, and had qualification for next season’s Champions League lined up, but they had to ensure a professional job away to Norwich. Arsenal were in a position to leapfrog them, if the Gunners capitalised on a Lilywhites slip up in their match at home to Everton.

Image: Nathan Rogers | Unsplash

Meanwhile, Manchester United and West Ham were vying for sixth place, and Europa League football, with the side that finished seventh only qualifying for the Europa Conference League. West Ham, away to Brighton, had to better the result of Man United’s trip to Crystal Palace if they were to steal sixth.

The battle for fourth featured a couple of blowouts, and it was evident from early on that Arsenal and Tottenham would be winning their games with ease. Tottenham won 5-0 to secure fourth, meaning Arsenal’s 5-1 victory may have given the home fans something to enjoy, but didn’t change their league position.

Occupying the remaining European spots, neither Man United nor West Ham were able to impress on the final day. United’s disappointing season limped to a close with a 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace, former Red Devil Wilfried Zaha scored the only goal. Although the result left Rangnick’s side vulnerable, West Ham were unable to take sixth. David Moyes’ side had managed an impressive campaign, but it ended with a 3-1 loss to Brighton on the final day, ensuring that Man United took the second Europa League spot.