Chelsea get Champions League place despite defeat at Aston Villa


Ben Chilwell of Chelsea battles for possession with Jack Grealish of Aston Villa during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Chelsea at Villa Park on May 23, 2021 in Birmingham, England.

Chelsea secured a top-four finish thanks to rivals Tottenham despite losing their final Premier League match of the season.

The Blues, who started the day in third, were on course to miss out when two down at Villa Park with Leicester 2-1 up against Spurs.

But Tottenham hitting back to win 4-2 meant Leicester finished fifth and missed out on a Champions League spot, with Chelsea ending the campaign a point ahead of them in fourth place.

Bertrand Traore played a major part in his former club’s defeat, scoring Aston Villa’s first goal and winning the penalty which led to their second.

Ben Chilwell pulled a goal back for Chelsea, who ended the match with 10 men after Cesar Azpilicueta was sent off for lashing out at Jack Grealish in stoppage time.

They will face Manchester City in the Champions League final next weekend knowing a place in next season’s tournament is theirs.

Villa opened the scoring a couple of minutes before half-time when Grealish swept a low corner towards Traore, whose shot hit the ground and bounced in off the underside of the bar.

Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy collided with a post while trying to keep the shot out and did not appear for the second half.

He was replaced by Kepa, who found himself picking the ball out of the net just seven minutes into the second half after Anwar El Ghazi netted from the spot following Jorginho’s foul on Traore.

Timo Werner had a goal disallowed for offside but Chelsea eventually reduced the deficit courtesy of Chilwell’s side-footed volley from Christian Pulisic’s cross.

Chilwell was later denied a second goal by a goal-line clearance from Tyrone Mings.

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