Ahead of the end of 2019 and the start of a new decade, over the past few days we’ve looked back at some of the biggest football stories to take place this year month-by-month. This time we’re going back to May. If you would like to look at our previous recaps, click on the relevant title below.
2019 Football Recap - May
Champions League Semi-Finals - First Legs
The first day of May saw the second Champions League semi-final tie between Barcelona and Liverpool commence. Luis Suarez opened the scoring against his former club in the first half before Lionel Messi scored a second-half brace, which included and incredible long-range free-kick. The tie looked like it was all dead and buried before the second leg.
Champions League Semi-Finals - Second Legs
Both English sides faced tough tasks in their return fixtures, with Liverpool trailing Barcelona by 3 goals, and Tottenham heading to Amsterdam after a 1-0 defeat in the first-leg.
A goal within 7 minutes by Divock Origi gave hope to Liverpool, with an early goal in the second half by Georginho Wijnaldum meant that the comeback was well and truly on. Wijnaldum scored his second of the game 2 minutes later to bring Liverpool level on aggregate. Some quick thinking by Alexander-Arnold in the form of a quick corner set up Origi to put Liverpool up on aggregate and complete a famous comeback. Liverpool saw out the game with a 4-0 victory and sealed their place in their second Champions League final in 2 seasons.
Not many fancied Tottenham ahead of their trip to the Johan Cruyff Arena to face an inform Ajax, with 2 early goals from Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech looking to end Tottenham’s hope of reaching the Champions League final. Lucas Moura gave Tottenham hope with 2 goals in 4 minutes to bring the score level on the night, and only 1 goal behind going through on away goals. With the game looking over, Moura received one more chance and with the last kick of the game he placed his shot past Onana to score his third of the game and send Tottenham into ecstasy and send them through to the Champions League final on away goals. Find the results for both the Champions League semi-final second legs below:
- Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona (4-3)
- Ajax 2-3 Tottenham (3-3)
Europa League Semi-Finals - First Legs
The possibility of an all-English Europa League final was still very much on the cards as Chelsea and Arsenal were kept apart, with Arsenal facing Valencia, and Chelsea facing Eintracht Frankfurt.
Arsenal had a terrible start to their home leg against Valencia as the Spanish side went 1-0 up after 11 minutes at the Emirates to give them an early away goal. Arsenal responded quickly as Alexandre Lacazette scored a brace before half-time to give them a 2-1 lead. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored Arsenal’s third during the 90th minute to give them a 3-1 lead ahead of their return leg in Valencia and put them well on their way to reaching the final.
The other semi-final first leg saw Chelsea head to Germany to face Eintracht Frankfurt. An inform Luka Jovic put the Germans ahead after 23 minutes before Pedro scored a vital away goal for Chelsea. The game stayed at 1-1, with Chelsea taking a valuable away goal back to Stamford Bridge. Find both Europa League semi-final first leg results below:
- Arsenal 3-1 Valencia
- Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 Chelsea
Europa League Semi-Finals - Second Legs
Arsenal went into their second leg against Valencia only needing a draw or a defeat by one goal in order to progress to the final. An early goal from Kevin Gameiro after 11 minutes gave Arsenal and nervy start to the second leg, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang settles Arsenal’s nerves with a goal 6 minutes later. Alexandre Lacazette put Arsenal ahead 5 minutes into the second-half to give them a 5-2 aggregate lead. Kevin Gameiro scored his second of the game 8 minutes later before Aybameyang scored 2 more goals 2 seal his hat-trick and a 4-2 win for Arsenal, taking them to Baku for the Europa League final.
Chelsea only needed a 0-0 draw to join Arsenal in the Europa League final on away goals, but a first-half goal from Ruben Loftus-Cheek meant that wouldn’t be the case, the goal didn’t change anything for Eintracht Frankfurt as they still only needed 1 goal to stay in the game. That goal came via a familiar source as Luka Jovic put the Germans level 4 minutes into the second half to bring the tie level on aggregate with both sides having 1 away goal. The sides were inseparable for 90 minutes and extra-time, with penalties being the deciding factor of the tie. Kepa turned out to be the hero for Chelsea as he saved 2 penalties to give Chelsea the victory and set up an all-english Europa League final in Baku. Find both Europa League semi-final second leg results below:
- Valencia 2-4 Arsenal (3-7)
- Chelsea 1-1 Eintracht Frankfurt (2-2)
Europa League Final
After a long season, the final of the Europa League was finally with us, and we were in for a treat as it was an all-English affair between London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal. After a pretty dull first half, the scoring was opened by former Arsenal player Olivier Giroud who put Chelsea ahead, before Pedro put Chelsea 2-0 up 11 minutes later. Eden Hazard scored Chelsea's third of the game 5 minutes later before Alex Iwobi made it 3-1. Unfortunately for Arsenal, the hopes for a comeback were short lived as Hazard scored his second of the game 3 minutes later to give Chelsea a 4-1 victory and the Europa League title. The defeat meant that Arsenal would spend another season in the Europa League.
May saw the 18/19 Premier League season reach its conclusion, with each team having 2 remaining games left each. Manchester City were in control of their own fate going into their final 2 games as they were 1 point ahead of Liverpool at the top of the table. A fantastic long-range effort from Vincent Kompany gave City a vital win over Leicester at the Etihad Stadium, with Liverpool’s win over Newcastle as St James’ Park meaning that the league went down to the final day, with Manchester City travelling to Brighton, and Liverpool hosting Wolves. A shock looked to be on the cards when Brighton took the lead against City, but a swift response from Sergio Aguero one minute later and a goal from Aymeric Laporte 10 minutes later put City on their way to the title. 2 second half goals from Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan gave Manchester City a 4-1 win on the South Coast and handed them their fourth Premier League title. Despite beating Wolves 2-0 at Anfield, Liverpool had to settle for second place, but had a Champions League final to look forward to.
Tottenham and Chelsea were in poll position to finish in the top four at the start of May, with both sides only needing to win 1 of their remaining 2 games. A 3-0 win over Watford at Stamford Bridge guaranteed that Chelsea would be returning to the Champions League, regardless of their result in the Europa League final. A 1-0 defeat away to Bournemouth meant that Tottenham had dropped down to 4th, with Chelsea overtaking them. As a result of both Arsenal and Manchester United dropping points against Brighton and Huddersfield respectively, both Arsenal and Manchester United would have to settle for Europa League football for the following season. Find below the final Premier League table for the 18/19 season:
- Manchester City
- Manchester United
- West Ham
- Crystal Palace
FA Cup Final
The final English domestic final took place as Manchester City and Watford faced off at Wembley in the FA Cup final. It didn’t turn out to be much of a competition as City went 2-0 up in the first half thanks to goals from David Silva and Gabriel Jesus. City didn’t decrease the pressure going into the second half as they scored 4 more goals, with Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling also getting on the scoresheet to give City a 6-0 win and take the FA Cup to the Etihad Stadium.
Championship Play-Offs - First Legs
The 18/19 Championship play-offs took place at the start of May, with: Leeds, West Brom, Aston Villa and Derby competing for promotion to the Premier League. The first game saw a midlands tie between Aston Villa and West Brom take place at Villa Park. Dwight Gayle put West Brom ahead before goals from Conor Hourihane and Tammy Abraham gave Villa a 2-1 lead going into the second leg.
The other game between Derby and Leeds at Pride Park saw Leeds take the advantage as a single goal from Kemar Roofe gave them a 1-0 lead going into the return leg at Elland Road. Find both play-off first leg results below:
- Aston Villa 2-1 West Brom
- Derby 0-1 Leeds
Championship Play-Offs - Second Legs
West Brom went into their second leg against Aston Villa needing a win if they wanted to reach the play-off final, and got off to a brilliant start as Craig Dawson put them ahead after 29 minutes, putting them level on aggregate. Neither West Brom or Villa could find a goal for the remainder of the game, meaning the match would be decided by penalties, with Villa winning the shoot-out 4-3 and booking their place at Wembley.
After their 1-0 victory in the first leg, Leeds went into their home leg against Derby with the advantage, with a goal from Stuart Dallas giving them a 2-0 aggregate lead. Second half goals from Jack Marriott, Mason Mount and Harry Wilson gave Derby the advantage as Frank Lampard’s men a 4-3 aggregate victory and a match against Villa in the play-off final.
Championship Play-Off Final
After their semi-final victories, Aston Villa and Derby met at Wembley with a place in the Premier League at stake. Anwar El Ghazi put Villa head just before half-time and John McGinn put Villa 2 goals ahead just before the hour mark. Jack Marriott pulled one back for Derby in the 81st minute, which proved to be too late for Derby as they were unable to find a second. Villa went on to win the game 2-1 and returned to the Premier League.