Chelsea secure Champions League spot with win over Watford

Written By: BBC/Muraya Kamunde
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Chelsea secured their place in the Champions League next season with victory over Watford at Stamford Bridge.

The win, combined with Arsenal’s draw against Brighton, means the Blues are guaranteed a top-four finish in the Premier League.

After a quiet first half, Chelsea scored twice within three minutes early in the second period through headers by Ruben Loftus-Cheek and David Luiz.

Gonzalo Higuain sealed the points with a neat finish from Pedro’s pass for his fifth goal for the club.

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The win moves Chelsea up to third, one point ahead of Tottenham and four points clear of the fifth-placed Gunners.

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FA Cup finalists Watford started brightly, going close through Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu, but were left to rue their slow start to the second half that saw Chelsea quickly take the game away from them.

The Hornets, who stay 10th, have now won just one of their past five Premier League games since their FA Cup semi-final victory over Wolves last month.

Meanwhile, Arsenal’s focus is now on the Europa League, says boss Unai Emery, after his lacklustre side’s hopes of a top-four Premier League finish were effectively ended by a draw with Brighton.

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The Gunners are three points behind Tottenham in fourth with one game to play but would need an eight-goal swing, as well as results going their way, to overtake their rivals.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put Arsenal in front at Emirates Stadium with a ninth-minute penalty after Alireza Jahanbakhsh was judged to have fouled Nacho Monreal despite appearing to get the ball.

Aside from occasional bursts, Emery’s side were shaky and sloppy, with Granit Xhaka committing an absurd foul on Solly March to concede a penalty that Glenn Murray converted on 61 minutes.

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Arsenal frantically searched for a winner but Aubameyang volleyed wide from seven yards out and Brighton keeper Mat Ryan made a series of fine saves.

Finally, Manchester United will have to settle for Europa League football next season after being held by a Huddersfield side who were relegated in March.

It means United have now gone five games without a win, their worst sequence since they went eight games without a victory under Louis van Gaal between November and December 2015.

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