Tottenham are back in the big time. After two seasons out of the Champions League, Antonio Conte’s side qualified for Europe’s premier club competition with a 5-0 win away to Norwich City as the Premier League’s 2021-22 season wrapped up Sunday.
Needing only to avoid defeat at Carrow Road to guarantee finishing above rivals Arsenal in fourth place, Spurs made light work of the Premier League’s bottom side with first half goals from Dejan Kulusevski and Harry Kane. The former added a second with an hour played before Heung-min Son earned himself a share of the Premier League Golden Boot with Spurs’ fourth and fifth, his 22nd and 23rd of the season, putting him level with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (who also scored Sunday).
Their final day victory concludes what has been an impressive late season run to secure the top-four berth that would have slipped out of their hands if they had lost the north London derby 10 days ago. Instead Kane and Son inspired them to a 3-0 win over Arsenal which they followed by beating Burnley, assuring themselves of local bragging rights for the sixth straight year.
Spurs’ win made proceedings at the Emirates Stadium rather academic with Arsenal reliant on Norwich getting all three points to have any chance of Champions League qualification. The Gunners at least ended their season on something of a high with a 5-1 victory over Everton that might have been even more convincing than the scoreline suggested. Their visitors were naturally some way off their peak after securing Premier League survival on Thursday against Crystal Palace but Frank Lampard’s rotated side looked like they would struggle in the Championship as they were comprehensively outclassed in the north London sun.
Gabriel Martinelli opened the scoring from the penalty spot before Eddie Nketiah added a second soon after. Though substitute Donny van de Beek tapped in just before the interval this was largely plain sailing for the Gunners, who saw defenders Cedric and Gabriel find the net in the second period. The pick of the goals would come in the 82nd minute as Martin Odegaard rolled a low shot into the bottom corner after a dart into the box.
This will be the third time in the last six seasons that Arsenal finish just outside the Champions League places; they will be joined in the Europa League by Manchester United despite their worst season in the Premier League era. Their former winger Wilfried Zaha struck just before half time to inflict a 12th top-flight defeat of the season on the Red Devils. Watching on at Selhurst Park, Erik ten Hag would have got a clear sense of the task on his hand; for the first time in 32 years United have ended the season without a positive goal difference.
Their defeat opened the door for West Ham to claim sixth place and the final Europa League spot. Michail Antonio’s first half-strike suggested they might just do that but Joel Veltman, Pascal Gross and Danny Welbeck struck to earn a top-half finish in the top flight for the first time in Brighton’s history. West Ham, seventh, will compete in next season’s Europa Conference League.