*Everton dent Sheffield Utd’s Euro Hope’s, as Brighton hold Newcastle
Wolves eased past a hapless Crystal Palace side in the Premier League to maintain hopes of playing Europa League football next season.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side move back above Tottenham into sixth place and victory at Chelsea in their final league game on Sunday will guarantee a better finish than last season.
Daniel Podence scored his first goal for Wolves since joining from Olympiakos in January by nodding in from close range to finish off a lovely team move and Jonny Otto added a second with a quick spin and shot.
Palace barely threatened with Andros Townsend’s long-range free-kick and Wilfried Zaha’s weak shot both comfortable for goalkeeper Rui Patricio to deal with.
Roy Hodgson’s side have tailed off badly since the restart and cannot finish higher than 13th place.
Wolves’ long season goes on
Wolves finished seventh last term and were the first Premier League team to begin the 2019-20 campaign when they competed in the Europa League qualifiers 360 days ago. Against Palace, they were playing their 56th game of the campaign.
The long season looked to be taking its toll, having taken just four points from their previous four games, but victory gave them their highest points tally in the Premier League and keeps their Europa League fate in their own hands going into the last game.
That competition is one they still remain in this season, which will prolong their campaign into August when they face Olympiakos in the second leg of their last-16 tie, and going all the way to lifting the trophy will upgrade their achievement to a place in the Champions League.
Wolves are a well drilled side and kept Palace at bay before a moment of brilliance from midfielder Joao Moutinho saw them open the scoring.
The Portugal international chipped a perfectly weighted pass into the path of the on-running Matt Doherty, who pulled a pass back for Podence to nod in an easy finish.
They grabbed a second on 68 minutes courtesy of Jonny’s first goal at Molineux since September 2018, receiving a lay-off from Raul Jimenez before spinning expertly and curling home a smart finish.
In an earlier game, Sheffield United’s hopes of playing European football next term were dealt a blow as they lost at home to Everton in their penultimate game of the Premier League season.
Richarlison scored the game’s only goal early in the second half when he glanced home a header from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick, reports the BBC.
That strike brought the game to life after a dire first half in which Dominic Calvert-Lewin had the only real chance, but his header hit the post.
David McGoldrick was denied a immediate response for Sheffield United when his low drive inside the box was blocked, but the Blades looked distinctly off key throughout.
Instead it was Everton who looked the most likely to add to their lead as Calvert-Lewin brought a save out of Dean Henderson before Andre Gomes drove just wide of the post in the closing stages.
The defeat for Sheffield United ended their slim hopes of finishing in the top six as they sit four points behind sixth-placed Tottenham with one game remaining.
They will now have to win their final game of the season at Southampton and hope Wolves lose both their remaining games – and Chelsea win the FA Cup – to secure a place in next season’s Europa League.
The win for Everton moved them above Southampton and into 11th.
And Brighton secured their Premier League status for another season after an uneventful goalless draw against Newcastle at the Amex Stadium.
The Seagulls needed one point to guarantee their survival and they were rarely threatened by the Magpies in both sides’ penultimate game of the season.
Chances at either end came at a premium but Graham Potter’s hosts were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty in the first half.
Neal Maupay appeared to be brought down by Matt Ritchie but the Frenchman opted to get back to his feet and play on, without appealing for a spot-kick.
In a game that felt more like a pre-season friendly, the visitors’ best chance fell to substitute Andy Carroll, who was unable to guide Jonjo Shelvey’s late corner on target.
Brighton move into 15th place in the table, seven points from the relegation zone, while Newcastle remain 13th.
Wolves 2 – 0 Palace
Sheffield Utd 0 – 1 Everton
Brighton 0 – 0 Newcastle