Belfast Telegraph

Old Trafford evacuated and match called off while Arsenal snatch second place

Manchester United's Barclays Premier League clash against Bournemouth was called off after the discovery of a suspect package at Old Trafford as the 2016-17 campaign ended on a day of high drama.

Arsenal beat Aston Villa 4-0 with a hat-trick from Olivier Giroud to finish second, after Tottenham were thrashed 5-1 away to relegated Newcastle who finished with 10 men, and Manchester City drew 1-1 at Swansea to all but secure fourth place.

Champions Leicester ended their remarkable campaign with a 1-1 draw at Chelsea, where former Blues boss Claudio Ranieri received a guard of honour.

At Old Trafford, around 2.40pm an announcement was made for security personnel to invoke 'operation red code' and it soon became apparent the Stretford End and Sir Alex Ferguson Stand were being evacuated.

Shortly after 3.15pm, those remaining in the ground were informed the game was off after which an Army bomb disposal unit was seen arriving at the stadium.

The Premier League later issued a statement saying the match - which could have been crucial for Champions League play-off qualification - would be rearranged for "as soon as practically possible".

Tottenham needed a draw at Newcastle to finish above north London rivals Arsenal for the first time since 1995.

However, by half-time they were 2-0 down by against a team whose relegation was confirmed in midweek after Sunderland beat Everton.

Georginio Wijnaldum put the hosts ahead on 19 minutes, with Aleksandar Mitrovic doubling the lead six minutes before half-time.

Erik Lamela pulled a goal back on the hour, before Mitrovic was shown a straight red card after a wild tackle on Kyle Walker.

Newcastle, though, signed off from the Premier League in style as Wijnaldum (73) added another from the penalty spot, with further goals from substitute Rolando Aarons (85) and Daryl Janmaat (86) completing a miserable afternoon for Mauricio Pochettino's men.

Arsenal completed a remarkable end to what had been viewed as a disappointing campaign to leapfrog Spurs and finish as runners-up.

Giroud set the Gunners on their way with a powerful header after just five minutes.

The Frenchman added a second on 78 minutes and claimed the match-ball as he swiftly swept home a third to secure bragging rights in north London once more.

Arsenal added a fourth in stoppage time, as a shot from Mikel Arteta, in his final match, hit the bar and went in off goalkeeper Mark Bunn.

City, meanwhile, are not mathematically certain of fourth place but it would require a 19-goal United win - whenever their final league match is eventually replayed - to deny them.

Kelechi Iheanacho fired the Blues ahead on five minutes but a free-kick on the stroke of half-time from Andre Ayew earned the Swans a share of the points.


From Belfast Telegraph