Giroud hat-trick sends Arsenal second as Old Trafford cleared

MANCHESTER United’s final game of the Premier League season against Bournemouth yesterday was abandoned following a security alert at Old Trafford, as Arsenal snatched second place on the table from rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

What should have been a celebratory last weekend of the league season was overshadowed as bomb disposal experts were called to carry out a controlled explosion on a suspicious package at Old Trafford.

The Stretford End and Sir Alex Ferguson Stand were evacuated as the match was called off 20 minutes before the kick-off.

The Premier League said the match would be rearranged for “as soon as practically possible”, although with Manchester United due to face Crystal Palace in Saturday’s FA Cup final, and Euro 2016 warm-up fixtures scheduled for the following week, there is little room for manoeuvre.

Completing a bad day for United, Manchester City drew 1-1 at Swansea City to effectively guarantee fourth place and Champions League qualification at the expense of their local rivals, who are three points behind them with a goal difference of only +12, compared to +30 for Manuel Pellegrini’s men.

City took the lead as Kelechi Iheanacho slotted home in the fifth minute after Sergio Aguero’s shot was pushed into the young Nigeria striker’s path. Swansea equalled in first-half stoppage time through André Ayew, whose free-kick deflected in off City midfielder Fernando, but the visitors held on to ensure Pellegrini departed on a high, with Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola to replace him in the close-season.

Capping a frustrating climax to the season for Tottenham, Mauricio Pochettino’s team came third, as their 5-1 humiliation at relegated Newcastle United, combined with Arsenal’s 4-0 win over bottom club Aston Villa, saw the Gunners leapfrog their north London rivals to finish second.

After losing the title to Leicester City, Tottenham have also wasted a chance to finish above Arsenal for the first time since 1994-95.

Georginio Wijnaldum struck for Newcastle in the 19th minute before Aleksandar Mitrovic added the second six minutes before half-time. Although Erik Lamela got one back for Tottenham on the hour and Mitrovic was sent off after 67 minutes, Wijnaldum stroked home a 73rd-minute penalty.

Rolando Aarons made it four in the 85th minute, and Daryl Janmaat added a late fifth to compound Tottenham’s misery.

Arsenal gleefully seized on Tottenham’s woes with an Olivier Giroud-inspired demolition of Villa at the Emirates Stadium.

France striker Giroud bagged a hat-trick, with the goals coming in the fifth, 78th and 80th minutes, before an own goal by Villa keeper Mark Bunn.

At Stamford Bridge, Leicester brought the curtain down on their fairy-tale season with a 1-1 draw against Chelsea, who gave the Foxes players a guard of honour before kick-off. Cesc Fabregas put Chelsea ahead with a 66th-minute penalty, but Danny Drinkwater’s 82nd-minute equaliser ensured Leicester finished 10 points clear at the top

AFP

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