Watford and Bournemouth saw their relegation from the Premier League confirmed on the final day of the season.
But it’s delight for Aston Villa after a potential farewell strike from Jack Grealish ensured that they retained their place in the top flight for next season.
Watford, Villa and Bournemouth were all in contention for the drop heading into final day fixtures at Arsenal, West Ham and Everton respectively.
The Hornets and the Villans entered the last day level on 34 points, with Dean Smith’s side boasting a superior goal difference by a single goal.
Eddie Howe’s men were three points back on 31 points, knowing only victory and defeats for both their rivals would see the Cherries survive.
Watford, without a manager after sacking Nigel Pearson last weekend, headed to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal and promptly got off to a dreadful start.
They fell behind after just five minute through a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang penalty and by the midway point in the first half were 2-0 down, after Kieran Tierney’s deflected effort found the net.
When Aubameyang made it 3-0 before the break, their race was run. Deeney did score a penalty before the half-time whistle and Danny Welbeck scored in the second period to make it 3-2.
But they couldn’t complete a remarkable turnaround.
Villa ultimately drew 1-1 at the London Stadium as Grealish’s goal his first since the Premier League restart, was cancelled out by Andriy Yarmolenko.
That point is enough however to keep them in the top flight, despite Bournemouth’s final day success at Everton.
The Cherries produced a terrific display to win 3-1 on Merseyside, but it was too little too late.
Watford and Bournemouth both join Norwich City, whose demotion to the Championship had already been sealed in advance of the final day, with Daniel Farke’s Canaries making an immediate return to the second tier.
Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion will be in the Premier League next season after sealing automatic promotion.
They will be joined by either Brentford, Fulham, Cardiff City or Swansea City – with that quartet facing off in the play-offs to land a spot in next term’s top flight.
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