Sunderland’s great escape continues with win at United
Cardiff and Fulham both relegated after heavy defeats
Goals from Peter Odemwingie, Marko Arnautovic, Oussama Assaidi and Jonathan Walters sealed the visitors’ fate after a dismal performance in which a late consolation from Kieran Richardson was rendered irrelevant.
Fulham go down for the first time since they plunged into the league’s bottom division in 1994 and Felix Magath’s first in his lengthy career with nine different clubs.
The Cottagers had travelled up the M6 hoping for a miracle but might have guessed it would not be their day when Hugo Rodallega – whose winners against Norwich and Aston Villa had given them hope – was ruled out due to illness.
But Magath’s men had no excuses for a simply abject performance, particularly in the first half, from which they were highly fortunate to escape with just a single goal deficit.
Andreas Weimann scored a priceless brace against Hull to all but guarantee Aston Villa’s place for another season with a 3-1 win.
Weimann, without a goal in 12 matches dating back to January, delivered just when his side needed it most with a pair of headers in the four minutes before half-time at Villa Park.
The Austrian’s intervention, which took his season’s tally to just six, turned a nervy 1-1 scoreline into a 3-1 lead which the hosts preserved to claim a first win in seven outings.
Ashley Westwood had put Villa ahead after just 58 seconds but they surrendered the lead when Jordan Bowery turned Liam Rosenior’s low cross into his own goal.
Victory takes Paul Lambert’s side to 38 points and they can only be dragged down if Norwich win both their remaining matches as well as effecting a huge swing in goal difference.
With the Canaries away to Chelsea on Sunday and hosting Arsenal next weekend, Villa fans can safely shelve their relegation fears.
Hull, a point further back with 37, are also unlikely to be hauled in by Norwich but their three-game winless run bodes ill for their FA Cup final appearance against the Gunners on May 17th.
England striker Rickie Lambert grabbed a dramatic late winner for Southampton after an otherwise uninspiring encounter against Swansea.
Lambert pounced in the third minute of stoppage time to secure an unlikely 1-0 victory.
Swansea skipper Ashley Williams’s attempted clearance looped high over home goalkeeper Michel Vorm, and the ball went in off substitute Lambert’s back to give Southampton all three points.
It looked as though the teams would play out an uninspiring 0-0 draw in the Liberty Stadium sunshine after 90 minutes that had end-of-season stamped all over it.
Both teams lacked the finishing power to threaten collecting a victory, and it proved a hugely-disappointing Premier League clash.