Records were smashed on the final day of the 2017/18 Premier League season as champions Manchester City became the first club to accumulate 100 points and Mohamed Salah’s strike against Brighton & Hove Albion saw the Liverpool forward move out on his own as the highest scorer in a 38-game season.
Substitute Gabriel Jesus scored a dramatic stoppage-time winner at Southampton to cap a memorable season for Pep Guardiola’s side. Saturday’s sensational climax ensured the champions set a new record of points in a season, goals scored (106) and 32 games won.
Jesus struck with virtually the last kick at St Mary's to take City to the century mark in suitably dramatic fashion.
Guardiola's wild celebration with his backroom staff showed what it meant to the Spaniard for City to achieve yet another astonishing feat.
“What can I say, 100 points! We won 50 points at home and 50 away. It’s massive. One hundred points is magnificent,” Gaurdiola told BBC Sport. “Maybe this record will be broken, but it will be difficult.”
Struggling Southampton knew before kick off that only a highly unlikely 10-goal swing in goal difference could send them down and a defeat for relegation rivals Swansea City at already-relegated Stoke City meant they were never in serious danger of the drop.
“Today was such a complicated game. It was so hard. The players suffered,” Gaurdiola said. “Southampton are a physical team, so many people defending deep.”
Salah, who before the game at Anfield was named Premier League Player of the Year to go with his players’ and football writers’ awards, scored Liverpool’s first in a 4-0 win against Brighton to etch his name in Premier League history.
The Egyptian was stuck on 31 goals alongside Alan Shearer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez before burying a left-foot chance past Mat Ryan to take his season tally to 32 in the league.
The victory ensured Liverpool finished fourth to secure Uefa Champions League football next season, although Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat away to Newcastle United meant they could not have bridged the two-point gap to Liverpool regardless.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for his team’s achievements this season in which they could still win the Uefa Champions League if they can overcome Real Madrid the final in Kiev on May 26.
“I’m really proud of the boys, a nearly perfect season. We had no chance to challenge Man City so the only thing you can go for is a Champions League spot. It is a big thing.
“When everyone tells you you are fantastic all season it is hard to stay on track so I am pleased with Mo Salah. Congratulations to Man City, it is incredible to get 100 points, thoroughly deserved.”
Antonio Conte accepted the blame for Chelsea’s capitulation at Newcastle, where goals from Dwight Gayle and an Ayoze Perez double meant last season’s champions missed out on a top-four finish and will have to settle for Europa League football next season.
It has been heavily reported that Conte will leave Chelsea after Saturday’s FA Cup final against Manchester United, though the Italian said afterwards he was committed to seeing out his contract at Stamford Bridge. Conte admitted his side deserved to come off second best to Newcastle, and said an opportunity to challenge Liverpool for fourth was missed following last week’s surprise 1-1 draw at home to Huddersfield Town.
“We deserved to lose because our start wasn’t good and we suffered by losing every ball,” Conte said.
“Newcastle were more determined than us. We didn’t lose our Champions League place today, we had chances in the last two games, but to finish the season this way is not good for anyone connected to the club.”
England manager Gareth Southgate will name his World Cup squad later this week, and there was plenty of encouragement for Southgate as his three of his strikers were on target.
Marcus Rashford scored his first goal since March for United's winner, whilst Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane both struck twice at Wembley as Tottenham came from 3-1 down to beat Leicester 5-4 and hold off Liverpool to finish third.
Kane cancelled out Vardy's early opener before Riyad Mahrez restored Leicester's lead and Kelechi Iheanacho's smashed home a third for the visitors early in the second-half.
Erik Lamela scored twice and saw another effort deflect in off Christian Fuchs for an own goal to put Spurs in front before Vardy levelled with his 20th league goal of the campaign.
However, Kane had the final say with his 41st of the season to head to the World Cup in fine form.
Arsenal gave Arsene Wenger a parting gift in his final game as manager after 22 years in charge by winning their first points away from home in the Premier League in 2018 with a 1-0 win at Huddersfield.
"Of course it is very emotional after 1,235 games for the same club," said Wenger. "To enjoy it we had to win it. Winning football games is what makes me happy and the boys did it."
Club record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted his 10th goal in 13 games since joining in January by finishing off the sort of free-flowing move that Wenger has made his trademark as Gunners boss.