Hull City were relegated and Newcastle United ensured their survival as the Premier League season ended with a series of farewells on Sunday.
The final relegation place was the main matter to be determined, with Hull City joining Queens Park Rangers and Burnley in the second tier in August after being held 0-0 by Manchester United.
It prolonged Hull manager Steve Bruce’s forlorn record against United, having never won as a coach against the club he captained.
Just two months ago, when Bruce signed a season-long contract extension, the northeast club were five points clear of the relegation zone.
“I’ve not been good enough,” Bruce said. “I’ll reflect on that and have a conversation with the powers that be.”
Newcastle United’s 10-match winless run ended at the perfect time with a 2-0 victory over West Ham United.
Jonas Gutierrez, who was playing his final game for the club after recovering from testicular cancer, and Moussa Sissoko scored to leave the club four points and three places clear of danger.
“We shouldn’t be in the position we were in, but we were and we dealt with it,” Newcastle manager John Carver said. “We have to invest and hopefully we will.”
Whether Carver would remain in charge of the team was unclear. Within minutes of the final whistle, it was Sam Allardyce’s long-anticipated departure from West Ham that was announced.
“I knew it was coming, I had no problem,” Allardyce said. “I have done everything that was asked of me, got them into the Premier League and stayed there comfortably over the last three seasons.”
Another manager’s future appeared uncertain after a season on the slide ended with a final humiliation for Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool — a 6-1 loss at Stoke City.
“If the owners want me to go, then I go, but I still feel I’ve got a lot to offer the club,” Rodgers said.
The only consolation for Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was scoring before heading to the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Frank Lampard also signed off with a goal for deposed champions Manchester City in a 2-0 victory over Southampton before jetting to the US to play for sister club New York City.
Lampard’s former Chelsea teammate, Didier Drogba, ended his second spell at Stamford Bridge by lifting the Premier League trophy for the fourth time.
The 37-year-old was carried by his teammates to the touchline before a staged, flamboyant substitution 28 minutes into a 3-1 victory over Sunderland.
Drogba’s replacement, Diego Costa, equalized from the penalty spot, before Loic Remy netted twice ahead of the trophy celebrations.
Costa ended his first season in England with 20 goals, the third-highest in the Premier League.
Top scorer Sergio Aguero netted his 26th goal for Manchester City on Sunday when Harry Kane took his tally to 21 in his breakthrough season for Tottenham Hotspur.
Kane ensured Spurs clinched fifth place and a spot in the UEFA Europa League group stage with a 1-0 win over Everton.
It sent Liverpool tumbling to sixth, a year after being runners-up, and Rodgers’ side will have to start in the Europa League in the playoffs.
Arsenal have gone 11 years without winning the title, but secured automatic passage to the UEFA Champions League group stage by finishing third ahead of Manchester United.
Theo Walcott scored a hat-trick as the holders prepared for the FA Cup final by beating West Bromwich Albion 4-1.
Fellow cup finalists Aston Villa lost 1-0 to relegated Burnley and finished only a place above the drop zone.
Danny Ings scored his 11th of the season and perhaps his final goal for Burnley, with a Premier League club likely to be the striker’s next destination.
Leicester City celebrated their survival by compounding the misery of Queens Park Rangers with a 5-1 victory over the London club.
Leicester’s stunning revival was perhaps only equaled by Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace.
A superb six months since quitting Newcastle for south London was capped by Pardew with a 1-0 win over Swansea City — a 10th win in 18 league games for the Eagles.
Pardew quit Newcastle because of the financial constraints that angered fans.
The season ended with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley bowing to public pressure and finally speaking in public after seven fractious years at the northeast club.
“The club is on a very sound financial footing, so we are able to spend and punch above our weight with the financial situation the club finds itself in,” Ashley told Sky Sports television. “I shan’t be selling the club until we win something. Not at any price.”
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