Leicester & Leeds relegated from the Premier League as Everton survives on the last day

Doucoure celebrates after scoring the winning goal against Bournemouth

The 2022-23 English Premier League campaign has come to a close with Manchester City lifting the title a week ago but the last day served several delicacies, albeit the bitter ones as 2015-16 PL champions Leicester City and Leeds United were relegated to the Championship.

Everton required three points to determine their safety on the last day and Abdoulla Doucoure’s goal certainly ensured that as the Toffees beat Bournemouth 1-0 at the Goodison Park. The fans gave their best in the stands and Sean Dyche’s men did enough on the field to keep their club’s flag flying high in the blue skies of Merseyside.

An ever-present in the English Premier League since its remodelling in 1992, Everton faced a few difficulties throughout the season as Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s injury issues continued to plague him while Richarlison’s departure also affected the depth in the club’s forward line.

In the end, Dyche’s organisation and discipline at the back worked wonders as the trio of Conor Coady, James Tarkowski, and Yerry Mina ensured the clean sheet remained intact with the England international James Pickford also putting in a shift between the two sticks extending the club’s 70-year stay in the top-flight of the English football league pyramid

In other parts of England, Leicester City defeated West Ham United 2-1 courtesy of a goal from the returning Harvey Barnes and a brilliant headed goal from Wout Faes but it proved to be too little too late as the Foxes suffered their first-ever relegation in the last 19 years.

Leeds United are also back in the EFL Championship ending their three-year stay in the top flight which included a last-day survival in the last season. A brace from Harry Kane and goals from Pedro Porro and Lucas Moura were enough for Tottenham Hotspurs who won 4-1 against Leeds as Jack Harrison got the consolation goal for the hosts.

Aston Villa players and support staff celebrate after securing a European spot

Spurs were hoping to bag the UEFA Europa Conference League place, the only European place on offer on the last day but Aston Villa’s 2-1 win against Brighton & Hove Albion ensured that Unai Emery would get a chance to lift one more European trophy next season. Douglas Luiz opened the scoring on the night for the Villans while Ollie Watkins doubled the lead with Denis Undav pulling one goal back for the side from the south coast.

An already-relegated Southampton treated the fans to an 8-goal thriller at the St. Mary’s Stadium with Liverpool first letting a 2-0 lead slip away and then the Reds came back from a 4-2 scoreline with Cody Gakpo and Diogo Jota scoring in a space of less than 100 seconds.

Elsewhere, Manchester United defeated Fulham 2-1 whilst Manchester City lost 1-0 to Brentford as the Bees capped off a brilliant PL season in fashion completing a league double over the PL champions.

Arsenal also showed glimpses of their peak form with a 5-0 win against Wolves whilst Chelsea and Newcastle United drew 1-1 in the other half of London. Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest also played out a 1-1 draw as the two sides finished 11th and 16th respectively in the league standings.

After winning the 2015-16 PL season, Leicester made their bow in the UEFA Champions League for the first time and made it to the quarter-final stage where they were eliminated by Atletico Madrid. 

After a somewhat unsuccessful 2020-21 UEFA Europa League season, the Foxes made it to the semi-final of the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League in the 2021-22 season and nobody expected the club to go down to the second tier after battling shoulder to shoulder with European giants like Roma, PSV, and Napoli in such a short span of time.

The 2022-23 season was far from ideal for the Foxes who parted ways with Brendan Rodgers in the first week of April appointing former Villa manager Dean Smith to take the team out of the pickle but the change of guard wasn’t enough in the end as the club will now hope to bounce back to the Premier League.

Players like James Justin, Timothy Castagne, James Maddinson, Kelichi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi, Harvey Barnes, and Youri Tielemans are some of the players who could be hacked away from the club as they fall into the financial uncertainty of the second-division of English football pyramid.