Manchester United qualified for the Champions League with a game to spare after defeating a poor Chelsea side at Old Trafford.
Casemiro put the hosts ahead, and Anthony Martial doubled their lead by sweeping in Jadon Sancho’s close-range ball.
After being fouled by Wesley Fofana, Bruno Fernandes scored United’s third goal from the penalty spot.
Another Fofana blunder allowed Marcus Rashford to score a fourth before Joao Felix’s late consolation for the Blues, who suffered their eighth defeat in ten games under Frank Lampard and 16th overall in a miserable season.
As a result, United has relegated old rivals Liverpool to the Europa League for the coming season.
Brazilian winger Antony was taken out on a stretcher in tears after suffering a lower leg injury in an innocuous contact with Trevoh Chalobah – with the FA Cup final against Manchester City less than two weeks away.
“I can tell you that it’s serious,” manager Erik ten Hag said, “but we have to wait at least 24 hours before we know more about the status of his injury.”
Chelsea’s dreadful season – their worst in nearly two decades – cannot come soon enough, yet their fans have kept their sense of humour, singing “we’ve scored a goal” as they applauded Felix’s attempt.
Ten Hag made it clear in his programme notes that he preferred to secure the Champions League spot quickly rather than for the situation to deteriorate and produce a frantic finish against Fulham at the weekend.
After Casemiro was allowed to meet Christian Eriksen’s free-kick unopposed in a crowded penalty area to give the hosts a sixth-minute lead, it never looked like they would fail to get the point they needed.
The Brazilian midfielder was instrumental in the hosts’ second goal, as he delivered a chipped, no-look pass beyond the Chelsea defense, allowing Sancho to set up Martial for a tap-in.
Fernandes took the penalty himself after being fouled in the area 17 minutes from time, after hitting the crossbar and having another penalty appeal rejected down.
Nothing summed up Chelsea’s season more than United’s fourth goal, as the visitors somehow presented the ball to Fernandes, who squared for Rashford to finish at the second try after Kepa Arrizabalaga had saved his initial shot.
At the time, United were on their way to their largest win of the season, while Chelsea were on their way to their worst defeat.
Despite Felix’s efforts, the hosts remained the superior squad.
With the EFL Cup already won, this season at Old Trafford has arguably been a triumph regardless of the fate of the FA Cup final.
However, given that defeat to Manchester City at Wembley would put their rivals two-thirds of the way to accomplishing a Treble that only United has previously completed, Ten Hag’s side still has a lot of work ahead of them before the end of the season.