Premier League: Wolves, Sheffield United's European dreams head in different directions after contrasting results
Wolves keep their European dreams alive with win over Crystal Palace while Sheffield United's hopes of qualifying for Europa suffered a blow after a loss to Everton in Premier League
Wolverhampton: Wolverhampton took back sixth place in the English Premier League after beating slumping Crystal Palace 2-0 on Monday, moving closer to qualifying for another season in the Europa League.
The win moved Wolves back above Tottenham with a one-point advantage ahead of the final day of the league season on Sunday. Wolves must face Chelsea; Tottenham gets Palace, which has lost its last seven games.
Daniel Podence, a winter signing from Olympiakos, scored his first Premier League goal in the 41st minute with a header into an unguarded net off a cross from Matt Doherty, who was in turn cued up by a smart lob from Joao Moutinho. Jonathan Castro showed off his footwork to score the second goal on the turn in the 68th.
“We wanted to be in Europe again and now we probably need to win at Chelsea to make sure we are again,” Doherty told broadcaster BT Sport. “I thought we probably started off a bit slow, bit flat in the first half, struggled to get going, but once we scored we got a bit more confident."
Palace showed little sign of breaking its losing run, the club's worst under manager Roy Hodgson. Jeff Schlupp sent a low shot narrowly wide in the first half on his first Premier League start of 2020 following injury problems. Palace lost defender Mamadou Sakho to a leg injury after 23 minutes.
Wolves' European push was helped earlier in the evening when eighth-placed Sheffield United was beaten by Everton 1-0. That result, combined with the win for Wolves, meant Sheffield is no longer in with a chance of reaching the Europa League.
Wolves is still in this season's Europa League, which was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. It faces Podence's old club, Olympiakos, in the second leg of their last-16 fixture on Aug. 6. The first leg went 1-1.
Richarlison goal gives Everton win over Sheffield United
Sheffield: Sheffield United ran out of steam in its charge for European qualification in losing to Everton 1-0 on a header from Richarlison in the English Premier League on Monday.
Sheffield surprised many by not just comfortably avoiding relegation but challenging teams with much bigger financial resources in the fight for European places.
The defeat to Everton, combined with Wolverhampton beating Crystal Palace 2-0 later Monday, means Sheffield can no longer qualify for the Europa League for the first time.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin headed against the post just before halftime for Everton, and his team then scored in the opening minute of the second half.
Gylfi Sigurdsson hit a cross from deep on a free kick and Richarlison rose to head the ball in from near the penalty spot. Sheffield goalkeeper Dean Henderson got his fingers to the ball but couldn't keep it out.
Sheffield had few chances to level the score. David McGoldrick had a shot blocked by 18-year-old defender Jarrad Branthwaite in his first top-division start, and also shot over the bar with the final kick of the game.
Alexander-Arnold made 179 total appearances and has been a key part of manager Jurgen Klopp's squad, helping Liverpool end its 30-year Premier League title drought in 2019-20.
The Norwegian, who took over from Jose Mourinho in 2018, will stay at Old Trafford until at least 2024, with the option of an extra year.
The move appears to form part of a rebuilding process at the north London side, with Belgium defender Alderweireld leaving despite having two years left on his contract.