x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Premier League safety in sight for Sunderland after Larsson stunner beats Manchester United

Cardiff City and Fulham relegated from Premier League while West Ham and Aston Villa make sure of safety

Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic, centre, and his teammates react after conceding a goal to Sunderland during their Premier League match at Old Trafford in Manchester on May 3, 2014. Darren Staples / Reuters
Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic, centre, and his teammates react after conceding a goal to Sunderland during their Premier League match at Old Trafford in Manchester on May 3, 2014. Darren Staples / Reuters

Sunderland continued their recent giant-killing form, heaping further misery on Manchester United with a 1-0 win at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Sebastian Larsson scored the decisive goal on 30 minutes, latching on to a Connor Wickham cross and beating David de Gea with a crisp, volleyed finish. Sunderland threatened to increase the lead and hit the woodwork twice but ultimately held out for their first win at Old Trafford since 1968.

Sunderland moved onto 35 points and stayed in 17th place, but most importantly their win condemned Fulham and Cardiff City, both of whom lost on Saturday, to relegation. The Wearsiders had drawn 2-2 away to Manchester City and won 2-1 at Chelsea before beating Cardiff 4-0 in their last match.

Manchester United stayed seventh with 60 points. Despite suffering the first defeat under Ryan Giggs’s stewardship, they can still reach the Europa League if they win their next two matches and Tottenham Hotspur lose their final match.

Cardiff collapsed to a 3-0 defeat away to Newcastle United, with Shola Ameobi opening the scoring after 18 minutes and Loic Remy and Steven Taylor adding further insult with goals in the last three minutes. Newcastle, ninth on 49 points, had lost their last six matches and seven of their last eight but rarely looked troubled against Cardiff, who are 20th on 30 points and five points from safety.

Fulham’s tumultuous season took its latest sour turn with a 4-1 loss against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium. Peter Odemwingie scored one goal and set up another, with Marko Arnautovic, Ousama Assaidi and Jonathan Walters rounding out the Stoke scorers. The victory kept the hosts, in 10th place on 47 points, on pace for their first top-half finish in the Premier League.

Kieran Richardson scored a consolation goal for Fulham, who are 19th on 31 points and four points short of safety with one match to play. Fulham return to the second tier for the first time since the 2000/01 season.

Aston Villa made sure of their place in the Premier League next season by beating Hull City 3-1 at Villa Park. Ashley Westwood staked the hosts to an early lead just after kick-off, and Andreas Weimann struck twice to make sure of the points after a Jordan Bowery own goal had brought Hull level.

Aston Villa moved up to 14th place on 38 points, knocking Hull down to 15th with 37. It remains to be seen what the victory does for the futures of under-fire Villa manager Paul Lambert and owner Randy Lerner.

A Rickie Lambert goal three minutes into second-half stoppage time handed Southampton a 1-0 win away to Swansea City in a match between two teams safely in mid-table.

In the early kick-off, West Ham United reached 40 points, the traditional mark of Premier League safety, with a 2-0 home victory over Tottenham on Saturday.

Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood’s hopes of pressing his case for keeping his job took a hit when Younes Kaboul was sent off after 25 minutes, hauling down a West Ham player as the last man in defence. West Ham took the lead after 27 minutes when Harry Kane diverted an Andy Carroll header past Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Stuart Downing doubled the lead just before half time, easing the pressure on West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, who had come under criticism from supporters for his style of play and lack of results.

West Ham are 12th in the table on 40 points, eight clear of the bottom three. Tottenham stayed in sixth place on 66 points but could be overhauled by Manchester United should the latter win their final three matches.

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