London: Tottenham Hotspur’s European hopes were dealt a huge blow as their final Premier League home game of the season ended in a 2-1 defeat by Aston Villa on Wednesday and striker Harry Kane perhaps waving a farewell to the club’s fans.
Liverpool, meanwhile, boosted their top four hopes with a 3-0 win over Burnely, but the pressure is still on going into the final day of the Premier League campaign.
England captain Kane’s uncertain future has left Spurs fans wearing a frown in the past week and their mood was hardly raised as a horrible own goal by Sergio Reguilon and an Ollie Watkins strike earned Villa the win.
Defeat left Tottenham in seventh place with 59 points, the same as Everton, after West Ham United moved to 62 by beating West Bromwich Albion later.
Tottenham now face the ignominious prospect of being in the inaugural version of Uefa’s third-tier Europa Conference League next season at best, having reached the Champions League final in 2019.
Defeat at Leicester City in their final game on Sunday could even see them finish as low as ninth and facing the prospect of no European football at all next season.
Kane, who has scored 220 goals from 335 in all competitions for Tottenham, including 22 this season in the Premier League, was a subdued figure on Wednesday and forced only one save from Villa’s Emiliano Martinez.
After the final whistle, a glum-looking Kane walked slowly around each side of the pitch on his own, receiving warm applause from fans, a few of whom waved goodbye.
Tottenham’s fans had sung “we want Levy out” during the game, aimed at the club’s chairman Daniel Levy who admitted in a message to fans in the match programme that the club had “lost sight” of key priorities.
Liverpool defender Nathaniel Phillips said Wednesday’s 3-0 win at Burnley is a massive result for their top-four hopes as goals from Phillips, Roberto Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain secured a fourth straight win for Liverpool and moved them to fourth on 66 points, ahead of fifth-placed Leicester on goal difference.
Liverpool face Crystal Palace at Anfield on Sunday knowing a win will probably secure Champions League football next season. Chelsea, a point ahead in third, are at Aston Villa while Leicester host Tottenham Hotspur.
“It’s massive,” Phillips, who scored his first Liverpool goal and helped them keep a clean sheet by clearing a Ben Mee header off the line, told Sky Sports. “Most importantly, (we’re) up into fourth “ that was our goal coming here today.
“All the rest of it are just added bonuses. At this point in the season, with what we’re trying to achieve, it doesn’t matter how we win games; as long as we get the three points, that’s all that matters.
“The pressure is on, there’s no room for inconsistency or being lax with our performances.” Phillips said knowing Liverpool have their destiny in their own hands makes little difference going into the final day.
Everton 1 Wolves 0
Newcastle 1 Sheffield United 0
Tottenham 1 Aston Villa 2
Crystal Palace 1 Arsenal 3
Burnley 0 Liverpool 3
West Brom 1 West Ham 3