Sunderland secures Premier League safety; Newcastle, Norwich relegated
Sunderland has managed another great escape.
The Black Cats will remain in the Premier League next season, clinching safety from relegation with a 3-0 win over Everton at the Stadium of Light in their penultimate game.
Patrick van Aanholt and Lamine Kone scored toward the end of the first half, and Kone added a second early in the second half, and the three-point haul ensures Sunderland will be clear of the bottom three. Norwich City and Newcastle were relegated with the result and will join Aston Villa in the second-tier League Championship next season.
Sunderland managed just one win in its first 10 league games of the season and endured a five-game losing streak in December, spending 237 days in the drop zone. Under manager Sam Allardyce, Sunderland came on strong down the stretch, securing points in eight of its last nine matches (2-1-6), with the lone loss coming to Premier League champion Leicester City.
Van Aanholt eased fears at the Stadium of Light in the 38th minute, with a free kick that made it by Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles:
Kone, who joined Sunderland in the winter transfer window, scored his first goal as a member of the club four minutes later, firing home after Yann M'Vila headed the ball forward following a corner-kick clearance:
He doubled his account in the 55th minute, with Robles parrying a corner kick right to him on the doorstep for a simple finish:
The result means the only drama remaining in Sunday's season finales involves the races for fourth and fifth place, which determine a Champions League and Europa League berth, respectively.