Sam Alllardyce was beaming and the Stadium of Light was roaring at the final whistle as Sunderland dismantled a tepid Everton side 3-0 to secure their Premier League status last night.
The result also relegated their North East neighbours Newcastle United along with Norwich City who are now both four points adrift with one game to go which will see them join Aston Villa in the Championship next season.
On a night to remember on Wearside, the Black Cats took the lead through a Patrick Van Aanholt’s free-kick shortly before half-time which deceived Everton goalkeeper, Joel Robles who had a night to forget in the Everton goal.
Two minutes later, Sunderland doubled their lead as Ivorian defender, Lamine Kone lashed in his close range volley into the roof of the net to all but end the contest. Everton looked bereft of any ideas and rarely threatened in the game as they succumbed to another damaging defeat as the axe looks set to drop on sorry boss Roberto Martinez.
Lamine Kone then scored his second goal of the game early in the second half when Joel Robles misjudged Wahbi Khazri’s corner, only for the ball to land at the feet of Kone, who made no mistake from close range as Sunderland fans began to celebrate survival.
Sunderland fans rejoiced as their result sent their bitter rivals Newcastle down to the Championship. Sam Allardyce guided his side to eleven points out of a possible fifteen to secure their status as chants of ‘Are you watching Newcastle?’ rang around the stadium.
Sunderland look destined for the drop in October with three points from their opening eight games. However, the appointment of Allardyce, who specialises in survival, appeared to bear fruit.
The Black Cats boss has done it again and his CV almost guarantees Premier League football after saving previous strugglers Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United.
Newcastle appear to have paid the price by sticking by Steve McClaren for so long. The firefighter appointment of Rafael Benitez appeared to restore the belief on Tyneside, but with ten games to go it ultimately resulted in being too little too late as the Toon Army were relegated for the second time in seven seasons.
Fellow strugglers, Norwich managed to beat Watford 4-2 at Carrow Road last night. However, Sunderland’s victory also saw the Canaries relegated.
Troy Deeney put Watford ahead early in the first half, only for Nathan Redmond and Dieumerci Mbokani to cancel out their lead and put Norwich ahead ten minutes later.
Norwich then increased their lead after Craig Cathcart put through his own net before half-time. Odion Ighalo pulled one back for the visitors after the break, however the comeback was short lived as Mbokani grabbed his second of the game as he lofted the ball over Heurelho Gomes shortly before the hour mark.
As we prepare to wave farewell to Aston Villa, Norwich City and Newcastle United next weekend, the Premier League will have new challengers following Burnley and Middlesbrough’s automatic promotion from the Championship.
Sean Dyche’s Burnley have returned to the Premier League at the first attempt after being crowned champions. Whereas, Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough are back in the top flight for the first time since 2009.
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