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But there was no asterisk on the title triumph. The full programme of games was completed, unlike in France and Scotland, where Paris St-Germain and Celtic were respectively declared champions of a curtailed season.
Leicester would have preferred the league positions in March to be the final standings. No team suffered more after the restart in June than the 2016 champions, blowing an eight-point cushion in the Champions League places.
The capitulation was completed by Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Manchester United, who took the last Champions League place off Brendan Rodgers’ boys.
The game-changer was Manchester City’s big off-field success in a season when the eventual runners-up were dethroned by Liverpool. City’s lawyers convinced the Court of Arbitration for Sport to overturn a two-year ban from European competitions which meant fifth place — where Leicester finished — no longer provided entry to the Champions League.
Frank Lampard steering Chelsea to fourth place was an unexpected feat for the club’s all-time leading scorer in his first season in top-flight management while hampered by the club’s transfer ban.
Chelsea reaped the benefits of Lampard having to delve into the club’s pool of academy graduates rather than making expensive signings. Fittingly, 21-year-old midfielder Mason Mount, who only made his competitive debut in August, scored the first goal in Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Wolves.
The season could still end for Chelsea in a Champions League final if a 3-0 deficit to Bayern Munich can be overcome next month in the round of 16.
Lampard’s first chance of a trophy as Chelsea manager comes in Saturday’s FA Cup final against Arsenal. Like Chelsea, Arsenal turned to a former midfielder this season to take charge. Arriving halfway through the campaign as Unai Emery’s replacement, Mikel Arteta lacked the time to impose his vision on the north London club.
Arsenal will be absent from the Champions League for a fourth successive season and the only route into the Europa League is by winning the FA Cup after finishing eighth. Arsenal were even overhauled by arch-rivals Tottenham, who were adrift in 14th place when Mauricio Pochettino was fired in November and replaced by Jose Mourinho.
But there won’t be a fifth consecutive season in the Champions League for the 2019 beaten finalists. Although Mourinho dragged Tottenham back up the standings, a sixth-place finish means a return to the Europa League. Mourinho will now need to strengthen the squad while not losing top-scorer Harry Kane to another lengthy injury lay-off or a rival club.
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