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Premier League relegation battle LIVE: Results and reaction as Everton survive

Leeds and Leicester were both relegated on the final day of the season

Michael Jones,Ben Fleming
Sunday 28 May 2023 20:49 BST
Everton boss Dyche on crunch relegation decider v. Bournemouth

Everton secured Premier League survival over Leicester and Leeds on a nervous and tense final day. Needing to defeat Bournemouth to claim their place in the top-flight next season things looked bad for the Toffees as the visitors took the early initiative at Goodison Park.

At the King Power Stadium, Harvey Barnes gave Leicester the lead over West Ham with Leeds falling behind to Tottenham up at Elland Road. That was how things stood at half-time with the Foxes out of the relegation zone and Everton in trouble.

The second half began and Leeds fell further behind Spurs effectively putting them out of the battle. Leicester extended their lead over the Hammers to gain control of their and Everton continued to struggle.

Then, Abdoulaye Doucoure received the ball on the edge of the box and smoked home a wonderful strike to put Everton in front. Sean Dyche’s men lasted through 10 minutes of stoppage to collect their three points and clinch their place in the top-flight.

Relive the action from the Premier League final day below:


Leicester’s unexpected twist provides reminder of football’s new reality

One of the most remarkable stories in football now has another twist. Leicester City are relegated a mere seven years after winning this competition’s greatest title of all, their fate sealed by Abdoulaye Doucoure’s 57th-minute release at Everton.

Dean Smith’s side had already done their job by going 2-0 up against West Ham United, which ensured this drastic fall for the club became one long wait. The pained anxiety of that manifested in three separate celebrations for Bournemouth goals at Goodison Park that hadn’t actually happened, their cheers quickly disrupted by frenzied checks of the phone. There was then the way the Everton game went on 10 minutes longer after a lengthy period of stoppage time. It just prolonged that hope, and made it even worse when confirmation finally came. As defeated-looking Leicester players checked their phones and then saluted the fans, West Ham United supporters celebrated that and their own forthcoming trip to Prague.

It laid bare the cruelty of days like this, as memories of better days surrounded the whole stadium. Andrea Bocelli had famously sung “time to say goodbye” on that glorious evening back in May 2016, and while it presents a fitting line here, the goading West Ham fans were in no mood to be so poetic.

Leicester’s unexpected twist provides reminder of football’s new reality

Leicester 2-1 West Ham: The Foxes’ fairy tale is over, seven years on from their epic title win, with relegation to the Championship nine years after promotion

Mike Jones28 May 2023 19:12

Abdoulaye Doucoure the saviour, Tottenham’s crossroads and 6 Premier League final day talking points

A topsy-turvy final day of the Premier League season saw 33 goals scored across the ten simultaneous matches, with Everton ultimately surviving the three-way relegation battle and Aston Villa beating Tottenham to a place in Europe next season.

Here are the key talking points as the 2022/23 season came to a close:

Doucoure the saviour, Spurs at a crossroads: 6 final day talking points

Harry Kane’s goals won’t yield European football, but Unai Emery has worked his magic for Aston Villa

Mike Jones28 May 2023 19:53

Everton manager Sean Dyche speaking to BBC Sport

“Ugly days, brilliant when you win it and glorified, but it’s ugly days and there’s no joy in that. I was pleased with how the team worked. There’s a lot of work to be done. But I’m really pleased.

“We brought a group of players together and I’m learning about the club. The fans care deeply. They know the club isn’t where it wants to be but it’s a team in a massive transition and we need to build on what we have achieved this season.

“I said it was fantastic in many ways and to enjoy the moment but don’t forget that overall for the season it’s disappointing. We need to demand more, recruit more and everything. There’s so many things here. There’s a lot of work that needs doing.

“I reminded the players of a good half and that the main thing was getting bodies in the box and having the belief to score a goal. We didn’t progress too much in the second half because we found a magical moment then it was nervy after that.

“The players dealt with it in a different way. It was very difficult. I’m pleased that this side have been able to show a different way to win. They dug in. We have found wins. There’s been a lot of good but there’s a massive amount of work to be done.

“Yeah, Abdoulaye Doucoure has been terrific and a threat for us. We’ve been misfiring up front but he’s been getting in the right areas and has popped up with a massive goal.

“I feel there has to be a real alignment. I don’t think the club is ready to be thinking about the big stuff. We need to recruit well. All those things are not for this moment in time but I have it all up there.”

(AFP via Getty Images)
Mike Jones28 May 2023 19:38

Leeds boss Sam Allardyce, speaking to BBC Match of the Day:

“The ‘too much’ [to get out of trouble] was our fault, not the great skill of Tottenham Hotspur. In my short time, that is par for the course and also par for the course before I got here. It is a great shame. Our efforts today will go unnoticed. 20-21 attempts at goal and two on target.

“We created a lot today. We didn’t have the quality Tottenham have to put the ball in the net. It should have easily resulted in a normal game, in two or three goals. Tottenham: 11 attempts, four goals. And then our gifting of goals. That is the biggest disappointment, along with the time we gifted them. Two minutes into each half. One when we fight back. We were on top at that time. The fans go home disappointed and show that and rightly so. If we had been more resilient, we could have had more in our favour.

“There is a lot to be done, even for the Championship. Goals to be scored and goalscorers to score them. That is an area. The squad is a little on the young side and lacks experience. That could be not as big a problem in the Championship, as those lads could make a big impact. The size of the squad is another factor over 46 games. Which way does the club want to go?

“It is a huge disappointment to me not to have gotten more results from the players. I can’t blame them for not trying. They gave everything they have but you can’t make those errors at this level.

“I’m disappoointed for the fans. They are very entitled to show their disapporoval. They filled the stadium to support and the lads should have given them more to get behind them.”

Mike Jones28 May 2023 19:35

Everton fans storm pitch after beating relegation before chants to ‘sack the board’

Everton beat Bournemouth 1-0 on the final day of the Premier League to ensure they survived a three-way relegation fight, but the full-time whistle clearly brought a lot of mixed emotions to those inside Goodison Park.

Abdoulaye Doucoure netted the only goal of the game to land the three points which left the Toffees staying up and both Leicester City, who won, and Leeds United, who lost their game anyway, consigned to the drop to the Championship.

And a large number of fans immediately broke past stewards and advertising hoardings to run onto the pitch after the final whistle blew to signify Everton’s survival, with equal parts celebration and relief evident in those initial moments.

Everton fans storm pitch before chants to ‘sack the board’

Abdoulaye Doucoure’s strike ensured a season of survival but supporters quickly turned on Farhad Moshiri again

Mike Jones28 May 2023 19:25

Reaction from Everton manager Sean Dyche

Everton manager Sean Dyche spoke to Sky Sports after the match saying: “It means a lot to me. I’ve just told the players we can’t be in this state. A magic day but at the end of the day we shouldn’t be in this shape. We have done well as staff and kept that belief. The mentality has been terrific.

“You are only a big club if you are doing big things. It is one and we need to get it back to being one.

“It’s about the belief of the group. In the dying embers of the game we found the moments. We obviously want to do better but you still need to have that belief like we had today.

“I came in here and everyone said it was broken. We have changed some things and enough that kept us in the Premier League. It means a lot to me as a manager and for the players. We capitalised on a big moment and didn’t make mistakes.

“You have to believe in the performance. We were getting good deliveries in the box so it was about staying calm and keep playing. They were nervous so we needed to see it through. That’s when you need calmness and we lost that a bit but I understand that. They have freedom because they have stayed up so it’s hard. We found a way to see it through and got enough points this season but there’s a hell of a lot to be done here still, I can ensure you of that.

“It’s a horrible game for all concerned at Everton but it’s fantastic when you come through it and get things done.

“I came here as the man to do the job. I knew there was a heavy risk but I’m pleased we got it done. We have found ways of winning games and getting points so that’s a good base to build on, but it does need building on.”

Mike Jones28 May 2023 19:21

James Ward-Prowse, James Maddison and 16 Premier League transfer targets after relegation

The final day of the Premier League season saw only the relegation battle to be sorted and now Leeds United, and Leicester City have joined Southampton in dropping to the Championship.

While the obvious priority was merely to remain in the top flight and not worry - for 90 minutes, at least - about what comes next, the natural implication of failing to survive is that bigger clubs will come calling for those players deemed too good to go down.

Rumours have already circulated around a number of those names; here are 18 who could easily attract a move to a top-flight club this summer if their present sides feel the need to sell to balance the books after departing the richest league on the planet:

Ward-Prowse, Maddison and 16 transfer targets after relegation

Southampton are gone and two from three will follow on the final day - potentially leading to a summer exodus

Mike Jones28 May 2023 19:18

Reaction from Leicester boss Dean Smith

Dean Smith says Leicester put out their best performance since he took charge of the club but remains disappointed that he couldn’t keep the club in the top-flight.

“That was our best performance today. We deserved a win. We put some pressure on but it wasn’t to be,” he said, “When I came here with eight games to go I thought we probably needed 11 points.

“We’ve fallen two short of that with nine – and it ended up being 11 points. I’ll look back at the Leeds and Everton game, but it’s over a long season. I’m disappointed for the owner here and the staff and the players. It wasn’t to be.

“I didn’t know their [Everton] score. I didn’t want to know. All I was concentrating on was trying to win this game. You hear things around the ground. I just wanted to make sure we did our bit and we did that.

“It’s not a question for now [whether he’ll stay at the club]. I’ll have to think about it. At the moment it’s raw because we’ve been relegated.

“The time I’ve had with the players, they have been really good. I’ve only had to get into them once in a training session. I felt we were lacking in belief when we first came. We gained confidence but we didn’t pick up enough points.”

Mike Jones28 May 2023 19:15

Everton’s season - and future - was saved by Sean Dyche’s own brand of creativity

For about 40 minutes, including the half-time break, an era that dated back to the time Winston Churchill was Prime Minister was ending. As it stood, Everton’s 69-year stay in the top flight was entering its final throes. A first relegation since 1951 beckoned.

This threatened to be a historic ignominy. Instead, it produced a place in Goodison Park folklore for Abdoulaye Doucoure; given the concerns about Everton’s finances and the question if the club could continue as a going concern without Premier League revenues, the midfielder might not have just been their savour in a footballing sense.

But a rescuer he was. There were fireworks outside Goodison; those inside came from Doucoure’s right boot. A bearpit so often as Everton beat the drop last season, their rickety home was subdued, anxious, expecting the worst as Leicester led and they did not. Then it erupted.

Everton’s season - and future - saved by Dyche’s own brand of creativity

Everton 1-0 Bournemouth: Abdoulaye Doucoure’s hammer strike kept the Toffees up on the final day

Mike Jones28 May 2023 19:09

Abdoulaye Doucoure reacts to Everton’s victory

Everton’s matchwinner Abdoulaye Doucoure stopped by to chat with BBC Sport about his brilliant strike that kept the club in the Premier League.

“It was a huge game for us. We are so happy. It’s hard to describe our feeling,” he said, “We fought all season to compete and save the club. This afternoon we gave everything. It was not our best game but we gave everything and got the result.

“I’m always going for the second ball. I knew I had to strike it as hard as possible and hit the target. Thank god it went in. It was an amazing feeling.

“We knew after Jordan Pickford’s incident we knew there would be extra time. We were able to run more after the goal. It was long but we got the reward.

“I’m not a hero. Nobody is here. We work and play for Everton football club. We have to be much better than that. We need to realise the mistakes we made this season.

“Everyone showed passion at the end but next season we need to come back stronger and put Everton high up.”

Mike Jones28 May 2023 19:06

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