Chelsea will play in the Champions League next season after qualifying with a game to spare.

Goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, David Luiz and Gonzalo Higuain led the Blues to a 3-0 victory over Watford at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Maurizio Sarri’s side climbed above Tottenham into third with those three points and, after Arsenal and Manchester United were held to 1-1 draws by Brighton and Huddersfield respectively, they have mathematically secured a top four spot.

It marks an incredible turnaround for Sarri and his Chelsea players, who appeared to be resigned to another season playing in the Europa League having been sixth in the table and five points behind with just nine games left.

The Italian appeared to be on the brink of the sack after twice overseeing Chelsea’s worst-ever Premier League defeat, having lost 4-0 to Bournemouth before the 6-0 rout away to Manchester City

However, three wins in a row against Cardiff, Brighton and West Ham hauled the west London side back into contention.

And after all of their top four rivals failed to win in the penultimate gameweek of the Premier League campaign, Chelsea took advantage and now cannot be caught, with Arsenal four points adrift and Manchester United a further point back.

They can still prevent Arsenal from reaching the Champions League through the Europa League route too, should both sides reach the final in Baku on May 29.

Source: Evening Standard