Huddersfield experiences joint earliest relegation from EPL

LONDON (AP) — What seems like an inglorious departure from the English Premier League is far from it for Huddersfield.

Its fate sealed with six games remaining after losing at Crystal Palace 2-0 on Saturday, Huddersfield has matched the record for the earliest relegation. Derby was also relegated in March 2008 after 32 games.

But it was a miracle the northern English team secured a second season in the Premier League, having resisted splurging its newfound wealth to chase survival.

Even after breaking its transfer record three times in its first Premier League summer transfer window, Huddersfield still banked 30 million pounds ($39 million) in profit at the end of the season.

Huddersfield has been competing in a league where Manchester City has amassed a squad worth $1.6 billion, according to the CIES Football Observatory.

City’s title defense — and bid for a quadruple — remained on track with a 2-0 victory over Fulham, which could follow Huddersfield by being relegated in the coming week.

Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero scored to take City back to top place. City is a point ahead of Liverpool, which hosts third-placed Tottenham on Sunday but will have played a game more than Pep Guardiola’s defending champions.

There was a labored performance from Manchester United in beating Watford 2-1 in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first game since being handed the Old Trafford manager’s job on a permanent basis.

LEARNING FROM FAILURE

Journey’s end for Huddersfield came at the scene of its first Premier League game — a 3-0 victory over Palace in August 2017.

Luka Milivojevic’s 76th-minute penalty and Patrick van Aanholt’s goal secured Palace’s 2-0 victory on this visit to Selhurst Park. With Burnley and Southampton winning, Huddersfield’s relegation was confirmed.

Huddersfield has scored only 18 times in 32 games and conceded 52 times, collecting only 14 points.

“The important thing for us is to go through all the details and find out what happened this season, to learn out of this failure,” said Jan Siewert, who replaced David Wagner as Huddersfield manager in January. “I will not talk about bouncing back because at the moment, this is a disappointment first of all, we have to take this and then go through all the details.”

UNITED RISES

In a scrappy Old Trafford display, Luke Shaw split the Watford defense to set up Marcus Rashford for United’s opener in the 28th minute and Anthony Martial netted from close range in the 72nd.

It allowed United to leapfrog Arsenal into the fourth and final Champions League spot.

Solskjaer, a former United striker, was named the club’s permanent manager on Thursday, having replaced the fired Jose Mourinho on an interim basis in December. Under the Norwegian coach, United has lost only once in 14 league games.

“We started so slow and sloppy and you could see we’ve had players out with injury and the international break,” Solskjaer said. “But after we scored, for the rest of the first half we played some great counterattacking stuff (and) defended well.”

LEICESTER MOURNS

While Brendan Rodgers celebrated a third victory in four games at the start of his managerial Leicester reign, there was also a somber backdrop to the 2-0 win over Bournemouth.

In the 61st minute, Leicester fans applauded the memory of former chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who would have celebrated his 61st birthday in the coming days.

Vichai died, along with four others, in a helicopter crash just outside King Power Stadium in October.

Wes Morgan and Jamie Vardy scored for Leicester, which is eighth in the league it so unexpectedly won in 2016. Bournemouth is 12th.

SURVIVAL BOOSTS

Burnley ended a run of four straight losses, beating Wolverhampton to boost its survival bid.

Conor Coady’s third own goal of the season and Dwight McNeil’s strike secured the 2-0 victory that leaves Burnley five points and one place above Cardiff in the drop zone. Cardiff has two games in hand and hosts sixth-place Chelsea on Sunday.

Southampton is above Burnley on goal difference after beating Brighton 1-0 with a game in hand. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg scored his first goal since December.

CAPITAL GAINS

Everton claimed its first success in London since January 2017 by beating West Ham 2-0. Kurt Zouma headed in from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s corner in the fifth minute and Zouma tapped in from Seamus Coleman’s cross in the 33rd to send Everton into ninth place.

West Ham is 11th after blowing the chance to go seventh in the pursuit of Europa League qualification.

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