Chelsea effectively seal second spot

Chelsea effectively seal second spot

West Ham United became the first team to be relegated after losing 3-2 at fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic, who seized a lifeline going into the finale of the season next weekend.

Just one point separates second bottom Wigan (39 points), Blackpool (39), Birmingham City (39), who lost 2-0 at home to Fulham, Wolverhampton Wanderers (40) and Blackburn Rovers (40).

Liverpool missed the chance to secure fifth spot and a Europa League place at the expense of Tottenham Hotspur after a 2-0 home defeat to the London side who leapfrogged them into the European position.

Manchester United (77 points) were crowned English champions for a record 19th time on Saturday after the drew Blackburn Rovers.

Chelsea have 71, Arsenal are on 67 and FA Cup winners Manchester City, who have two games remaining, are on 65 but with a far inferior goal difference.

Poor marking allowed Stewart Taylor to nod home from close range in stoppage time after Brazilian defender Alex looked to have given Chelsea the three points when he put his side 2-1 up in the 83rd minute.

Branislav Ivanovic fired Chelsea into a second minute lead against Newcastle after Fernando Torres flicked on a corner but his strike was quickly cancelled out by Jonas Gutierrez’s fortuitous goal.

Chelsea enjoyed the greater spells of possession without looking menacing until they profited from Newcastle keeper Tim Krul’s header.

The Dutchman came out of his goal to meet Frank Lampard’s freekick but missed getting a touch, allowing Alex to head home.