Goals from Emanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe ensured Tottenham Hotspur recorded a win over Fulham, but it wasn't enough to leap over north London rivals Arsenal.
The Gunners stirring success over West Bromwich Albion meant that Tottenham's triumph over Fulham didn't matter.
Harry Redknapp's team now face an anxious wait ahead of Saturday's Champions League decider to see if they will qualify for that competition next season.
A Chelsea victory would mean that Tottenham would miss out and the fact that Redknapp's nephew Frank Lampard is playing for Roberto Di Matteo's side adds another layer of intrigue.
“You look at the league – Arsenal, Man City, Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool spent a fortune and all looking strong. You thought if we can get in that top four you would be absolutely delighted and that’s how I am about it. I couldn’t be more pleased.
“I was just concerned about us winning – all that mattered was that we won the game.
“It is difficult but we’re both professional. Frank knows I want Tottenham to play in the Champions League next year. If we play against Chelsea I want to beat them whether Frank plays or not – that’s football.
"When I was manager of West Ham and we played Liverpool I still wanted West Ham to win even if Jamie (Redknapp) was playing for them. My allegiance is to Tottenham only – I want to see us in the Champions League again next year.”
“I’m looking forward to the game. We can’t do any more. We won, finished fourth, I couldn’t be more pleased with what the players have done here this year and nor should anyone else. If people start getting carried away with what Tottenham should be doing I think they want a reality check."
Newcastle United's impressive campaign ended with a disappointing defeat away to Everton at Goodison Park.
Steven Pienaar, Nikica Jelavic, and Johnny Heitinga all scored during the 3-1 triumph, but Tim Cahill was red carded after the final whistle following an altercation with Yohan Cabaye.
David Moyes reckoned that it was a harsh decision. "I really don't know what happened. I felt the referee could have shown a little bit of common sense. I really just wanted us to finish as high up the table as we possibly could.
"It didn't really bother me who we'd finish above, because I don't think you can really celebrate finishing seventh.
"The way I was brought up, you celebrate if you finish first or get Europe - if we'd finished seventh and got into Europe, that may have been something to shout about.
"But from where we were in October and November time, the teams we've had to overtake and the points we were behind, it's been a brilliant achievement by the players to come back from so far away."
Roberto Di Matteo was happy that Chelsea, with John Terry and Raul Meireles scoring, earned a 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers ahead of the Champions League decider with Bayern Munich.
"We wanted to finish with a win. It was a typical end-of-season game, but it was a good to win and important to go into next week with a good feeling. It was hard to stay focused - with the final coming up it is not easy. We had a lot of chances. We could have scored a few more, but it was just important to win and get that feeling of winning.
"We are looking forward and preparing for Saturday. It will be an exciting game and an historic time. We will go with a lot of confidence and belief that we can bring the trophy home."
Stoke City's 2-2 draw with Bolton Wanderers relegated the Trotters, who had led at the interval.
Danny Graham pinched a late goal as Swansea City took all three points from their Liberty Stadium clash with Liverpool.
Grant Holt and Simeon Jackson bagged as Norwich City defeated Aston Villa, while Wigan Athletic outfoxed bottom of the table Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-2 at the DW Stadium.