Bertrand Traore scores for Aston Villa against Chelsea at Villa Park
Bertrand Traore played for Chelsea between 2014 and 2017

Chelsea secured a place in next season’s Champions League despite losing to Aston Villa, Thomas Tuchel’s side sealing a top-four spot ahead of Leicester City.

The Blues had started the final day of the Premier League season in third spot, knowing victory over their mid-table opponents would guarantee a place in the group stages of Europe’s prestigious knockout club competition.

Tuchel’s side carved out the better chances but fell behind when Bertrand Traore’s attempt went in off the underside of the crossbar following Matt Targett’s corner.

It went from bad to worse for Chelsea when Edouard Mendy was injured, making him a doubt for next Saturday’s Champions League final with Manchester City.

Substitute keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was beaten by Anwar El Ghazi’s second-half penalty after former Chelsea player Traore was fouled by Jorginho, before Ben Chilwell pulled one back for the visitors from close range.

Chelsea finished the game with 10 men after captain Cesar Azpilicueta’s straight red card for a foul on Jack Grealish, but Leicester’s home defeat by Tottenham means Tuchel’s side finish the season in fourth on 67 points – one more than fifth-placed Leicester.

From ninth to Champions League spot

On a dramatic final day, Tuchel and his players experienced a full range of emotions before it was finally confirmed they had secured a Champions League group place.

It is an impressive achievement considering the Blues were ninth when Tuchel took charge in January, and of course his side could yet end the season by being crowned champions of Europe.

But they will have to play better – and show more discipline – than they did against Villa if they are to win in Porto next weekend after losing for only the third time in the league under the German.

Traore was unmarked when he fired Villa ahead, while Jorginho’s foul on the Villa midfielder gifted the hosts a second goal from the spot.

Azpilicueta can have few complaints about his red card but most worrying for Tuchel will be the fitness of Mendy.

The Senegal keeper has settled well since arriving from Rennes in September and proved a calming influence on the defenders in front of him. Tuchel will hope his injury does not hamper his plans for next weekend.

What’s next?

While Aston Villa’s players head off for a break, Chelsea now turn their thoughts to Saturday’s Champions League final against Manchester City in Porto (20:00 BST).

More to follow.

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Aston Villa

  1. Squad number26Player nameMartínez

  2. Squad number4Player nameKonsa

  3. Squad number30Player nameHause

  4. Squad number5Player nameMings

  5. Squad number18Player nameTargett

  6. Squad number7Player nameMcGinn

  7. Squad number19Player nameNakamba

  8. Squad number15Player nameTraoré

  9. Squad number10Player nameGrealish

  10. Squad number21Player nameEl Ghazi

  11. Squad number11Player nameWatkins

  1. Squad number41Player nameRamsey

  2. Squad number60Player nameChukwuemeka

Chelsea

  1. Squad number16Player nameMendy

  2. Squad number24Player nameJames

  3. Squad number6Player nameThiago Silva

  4. Squad number2Player nameRüdiger

  5. Squad number28Player nameAzpilicueta

  6. Squad number5Player nameJorginho

  7. Squad number17Player nameKovacic

  8. Squad number21Player nameChilwell

  9. Squad number19Player nameMount

  10. Squad number10Player namePulisic

  11. Squad number11Player nameWerner

  1. Squad number1Player nameArrizabalaga

  2. Squad number22Player nameZiyech

  3. Squad number29Player nameHavertz

Line-ups

Aston Villa

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 26MartínezBooked at 81mins
  • 4Konsa
  • 30Hause
  • 5Mings
  • 18Targett
  • 7McGinnBooked at 65mins
  • 19NakambaBooked at 74mins
  • 15TraoréSubstituted forChukwuemekaat 73′minutes
  • 10Grealish
  • 21El GhaziSubstituted forRamseyat 79′minutes
  • 11Watkins

Substitutes

  • 1Heaton
  • 3Taylor
  • 6Douglas Luiz
  • 9Wesley
  • 27El Mohamady
  • 39Davis
  • 41Ramsey
  • 52Philogene-Bidace
  • 60Chukwuemeka

Chelsea

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 16MendySubstituted forArrizabalagaat 45′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 24James
  • 6Thiago Silva
  • 2Rüdiger
  • 28AzpilicuetaBooked at 89mins
  • 5JorginhoBooked at 45minsSubstituted forZiyechat 60′minutes
  • 17KovacicBooked at 49minsSubstituted forHavertzat 66′minutes
  • 21Chilwell
  • 19Mount
  • 10Pulisic
  • 11WernerBooked at 45mins

Substitutes

  • 1Arrizabalaga
  • 3Alonso
  • 4Christensen
  • 15Zouma
  • 18Giroud
  • 20Hudson-Odoi
  • 22Ziyech
  • 23Gilmour
  • 29Havertz

Referee:
Stuart Attwell

Attendance:
10,000

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