Abdoulaye Doucoure (left) scored the goal which kept Everton in the Premier League
Liverpool (AFP) - Leicester were relegated from the Premier League just seven years after a spectacular title triumph as Everton prolonged their 69-year stay in the English top flight by beating Bournemouth 1-0 on Sunday.
Leeds will also return to the Championship after three seasons in the Premier League as their relegation was confirmed by a 4-1 defeat to Tottenham.
Abdoulaye Doucoure was Everton’s hero after the Mali midfielder smashed home from the edge of the box on 57 minutes to spark jubilant celebrations around Goodison Park.
In contrast, Leicester were crestfallen as they went down, despite their 2-1 win over West Ham.
Everton began the afternoon in control of their own fate but put a raucous support of 40,000 fans at Goodison Park through the mill before securing survival.
“There’s cracks here but it’s not broken and we’ve shown that. We’ve shown the fighting spirit,” said Everton manager Sean Dyche.
“We shouldn’t be in this position and we’ve got to learn from this.”
Scoring goals has been a problem for Dyche’s men and they badly missed the presence of talismanic striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Even when Everton did open up the visitors, Bournemouth goalkeeper Mark Travers produced stunning saves to deny Idrissa Gueye and Demarai Gray either side of half-time.
Conceding first would likely have been fatal for the Toffees, who have not scored more than once at home since October.
The relief around Goodison was palpable when Doucoure’s sweet strike finally got the better of Travers.
Everton still had an anxious half hour to see out and Jordan Pickford had to make a fine save to deny Matias Vina an equaliser during 10 minutes of added time to get over the line.
- Too late for Leicester -
Leicester were relegated just seven years after winning the Premier League
Leicester did what they had to do on the day as the Foxes won for just the second time in 17 games.
But it was too little, too late for a talented squad that badly underperformed this season.
In contrast to Everton, Leicester have an array of attacking weapons and they showed the quality they possess with the opening goal as Harvey Barnes exchanged a one-two with Kelechi Iheanacho and slotted calmly into the far corner.
Wout Faes headed in Leicester’s second just after the hour, but by that point the home crowd at the King Power knew Everton led and they needed a favour from Bournemouth that never arrived.
“Every manager will think I could have done this or that but hindsight is a wonderful thing. You finish where you deserve to over a season,” said Leicester interim boss Dean Smith.
“Mine was a remit to come in for seven weeks and eight games and try to keep the club in the Premier League. Unfortunately I’ve fallen a little bit short.”
- ‘Professional suicide’ -
Leeds were thrashed 4-1 by Tottenham to confirm their relegation
Leeds required a series of results to go in their favour and never gave themselves a chance as Harry Kane opened the scoring after just two minutes at Elland Road.
“It’s professional suicide,” said Leeds boss Sam Allardyce of his side’s start. “We made critical errors at the wrong period of time.”
Pedro Porro doubled Spurs’ lead early in the second half and Kane reached 30 Premier League goals for the season after Jack Harrison had pulled one back for Leeds.
Lucas Moura rounded off the scoring with virtually his final kick of a five-year Tottenham career.
Victory for Spurs was not enough to secure a place in next season’s Europa Conference League as Aston Villa beat Brighton 2-1 to seal seventh place.
Manchester City had long since sealed a fifth title in six years, but the champions’ 25-game unbeaten run in all competitions came to an end as Brentford beat Pep Guardiola’s men 1-0.
Ethan Pinnock scored the only goal five minutes from time as the Bees completed a memorable double over City this season.
Arsenal put the disappointment of their demise in the title race behind them to round off their season on a high as Granit Xhaka scored twice in a 5-0 thrashing of Wolves.
Manchester United made sure of third with a 2-1 win over Fulham as fourth-placed Newcastle were held 1-1 at Chelsea.
But the game of the day came at St Mary’s where already-relegated Southampton and Liverpool played out a 4-4 draw.