Saturday's results in Round 34 of the English Premier League season contained many notable results, more impactful at the bottom of the table than at the top. Sunderland got the day started with an important win vs. Norwich City, Newcastle United matched that with a win over Swansea, and Aston Villa confirmed its relegation from the English top flight for the first time since 1987.
Read recaps from all of Saturday's action below.
With a 1–0 loss to Manchester United on Saturday, Aston Villa sealed its relegation to the Football League Championship.
Villa has spent much of the season at the bottom of the table, and had managed just 16 points in 33 games entering Saturday (three wins, seven draws, 23 losses).
Marcus Rashford opened the scoring with a 32nd-minute goal off a set piece, assisted by Antonio Valencia. Villa never answered, and were mathematically relegated with the final result.
Villa was one of just seven clubs that have never been relegated since the Premier League’s inception in 1992, a group that includes Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
NORWICH, England (AP) — Sunderland took a big step in its fight for English Premier League survival as it beat fellow strugglers Norwich 3-0 on Saturday.
Sunderland, which scored three goals from its three shots on target in the entire match, took the lead in the 41st minute through Fabio Borini's penalty after he was fouled by Andre Wisdom. Club top scorer Jermaine Defoe made it 2-0 shortly after halftime, sliding in to score from Borini's cross.
Sunderland got its third goal in stoppage time, Duncan Watmore rounding Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy to score. Norwich, although dominant for large parts of the match, was unable to take any of its chances.
Despite the result, Sunderland remains in 18th place — a point from safety — with a match in hand over Norwich, which is immediately outside of the relegation zone in 17th.
Sunderland began the game knowing that defeat would leave it seven points from safety.
"We show that we can beat any team if we play football like we know," said Borini. "We know we've put pressure on the others but we need to focus on ourselves."
Norwich began the game without defender Timm Klose, who has been a solid part of its defense. Klose's replacement, Sebastien Bassong, was at fault when he lost the ball in his own half which led to the second goal.
Norwich was often the better team, forcing Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone into a number of fine saves. It was through this pressing that Watmore was able to capitalize on a breakaway to seal a key win for his team.
NEWCASTLE, England (AP) — Newcastle closed the gap on its relegation rivals by beating Swansea 3-0 in the English Premier League on Saturday.
Defender Jamaal Lascelles opened the scoring 41 minutes into the match with a header from Andros Townsend's corner. Moussa Sissoko got Newcastle's second goal in the 82nd before Townsend beat goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski with a fine finish to make it 3-0.
It was Newcastle's first win in eight games as well as its first victory under manager Rafa Benitez. The Magpies remain in 19th place, three points from safety with a game in hand over 17th-place Norwich. Swansea is 15th.
The result means that Newcastle finally has some momentum leading into the last five games of its season, and fans will believe that their team can survive if this level of performance continues.
Goals from Lascelles, Sissoko and Townsend crowned what was a highly polished display from the Premier League strugglers.
"We needed to win this game to believe for the rest of the season. I'm very happy and proud," said Sissoko, before adding "we need to keep pushing."
Newcastle plays Manchester City next.
Sergio Aguero found the net three times for Manchester City against Chelsea on Saturday, spurring a 3–0 victory.
The hat trick moves Aguero to second place in the Premier League’s Golden Boot race, trailing Tottenham’s Harry Kane (22 goals) and even with Leicester’s Jamie Vardy at 21.
With the win, City maintains a Champions League position with 60 points, good for third place in the EPL. Chelsea stays at 44 points, in the middle of the table.
Watch all three goals below.
- Jeremy Woo
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — A disgruntled Everton fan confronted manager Roberto Martinez on the field after a 1-1 draw with Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.
Within eight second-half minutes, Everton defender Ramiro Funes Mori scored and then missed a tackle that allowed Southampton striker Sadio Mane to equalize.
Discontent at Everton's underachievement has been growing at Goodison Park in recent weeks with Martinez the target of increasing criticism.
Eleventh-place Everton has not won at home in the league since early February and has managed just four victories at Goodison in the last year.
It was far from ideal preparation for a midweek Merseyside derby against Liverpool followed by Saturday's FA Cup semifinal against Manchester United.
Southampton, which remained seventh, could still qualify for the Europa League.
WEST BROMWICH, England (AP) — Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes saved two second-half penalties in a 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion in the English Premier League on Saturday.
The Brazilian rushed out and brought down Saido Berahino to give away the first penalty. Gomes made up for this by diving to his right to beat away Berahino's penalty after 67 minutes.
Gomes repeated the feat 20 minutes later after Etienne Capoue tripped James McClean. Berahino again took the penalty and Gomes launched himself the other way to palm away the spot kick.
He also twice stopped Stephane Sessegnon in the first half, and acrobatically denied Gareth McAluey shortly after halftime.
That meant Ben Watson's 27th-minute goal off Adlene Guedioura's corner was enough for Watford to clinch only its third victory in its last 16 league matches.