Sunderland secured their English Premier League place and relegated Norwich and Newcastle United after beating Everton 3-0 at home.
Patrick van Aaanholt scored with a 25-metre free-kick and added two more to give Sunderland an insurmountable four point lead over both Newcastle and Norwich with just one game left to play on Wednesday. Sunderland’s survival depended a lot on the appointment of Sam Allardyce after Dick Advocaat resigned last October following eight games without a win.
Allardyce, who has never seen a Premier League side relegated in 25 years, saw the Black Cats lose only twice in the last 13 games. Their victory leaves them four points ahead of the two aforementioned clubs ahead of Matchday 38.
Norwich were relegated to the championship despite a 4-2 victory over Watford at Carrow Road. Troy Deeney had given Watford the lead, but Norwich responded through Nathan Redmond’s strike, Dieumerci Mbokani’s tap-in and a Craig Cathcart own goal.
Odion Ighalo pulled a goal back, but Mbokani dinked in Norwich’s fourth soon after. It caps an end to a disappointing season for them but they will be hopeful of coming back to the top tier in the coming years.
In the day’s other match, Christian Benteke’s late header cancelled out Eden Hazard’s brilliant solo goal as Liverpool kept alive their slim hopes of a top-six league finish.
Chelsea winger Hazard, missing for most part of the season seemed a changed man just like the player we were used to till the last season. His revival in form not only resulted in Chelsea finishing in a respectable manner but also gifted Leicester City an early title win by drawing Tottenham at Stamford Bridge.
Hazard fired a low shot into the corner after a dazzling run to record his fourth goal in four games. But substitute Benteke had other plans and earned Liverpool a valuable point in added time when he pounced after an error form Asmir Begovic.
Liverpool remain eighth and are within three points of sixth-placed West Ham United.