Wahbi Khazri

Sunderland 0-2 Swansea City: Swans edge closer to survival

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  • Llorente, Naughton score for Swans
  • Swansea four points above drop zone
  • Sunderland lose Denayer, Anichebe to injury

Swansea City secured a vital victory in their battle against relegation as they beat already relegated Sunderland 2-0 at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

First half goals from Fernando Llorente and Kyle Naughton sent Paul Clement‘s men four points clear of the relegation zone with one game remaining and that means Hull City must beat Crystal Palace on Sunday otherwise the Tigers are all but down due to their vastly inferior goal difference.

With the win the Swans move level on 16th place Crystal Palace with 38 points, while Sunderland remain bottom of the table on 24 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Sunderland started well and Javier Manquillo caused problems after being found by Jermain Defoe but Martin Olsson cleared.

The Swans soon settled and took the lead. Gylfi Sigurdsson‘s free kick into the box caused havoc with Llorente, John O'Shea and Jordan Pickford all challenging for the ball and it hit Llorente and went in. 1-0 to Swansea.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Sunderland were forced into a change before the break with Jason Denayer limping off and Darron Gibson coming on in his place, and going behind knocked the stuffing out of the Black Cats.

Fabio Borini whipped in a dangerous cross and moments later Billy Jones popped up but his header was off target. Jermain Defoe had a half chance but Lukasz Fabianski saved and before half time Victor Anichebe was forced off with a hamstring injury as Wahbi Khazri came on.

Right on half time Naughton made it 2-0 with a fine strike into the top corner from the right back. What a strike for his first-ever Premier League goal and his first goal in over six years.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Sunderland just couldn’t get going as their final home game in the Premier League for at least 12 months failed to deliver many positive moments.

Sebastian Larsson‘s free kick slammed into the wall and appeared to hit Sigurdsson’s arm but referee Andre Marriner waved the penalty kick calls away.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

Late on Sunderland kept pushing forward and Larsson’s corner kick almost crept in directly and a scuffle ensued as Khazri appeared to catch Sigurdsson, but the Swans held on and have given themselves a great chance of survival.

The Way Back (?) for Sunderland

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Sunderland’s gone.

The Stadium of Light side’s decade-plus stay in the Premier League is over, squashed by a series of insipid results in a last-place season.

The latest loss was Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Bournemouth, one in which the Black Cats battled but couldn’t find the necessary moments that provide points.

[ PL PREVIEW: Watford vs. Liverpool ]

It’s a long road back for Sunderland, one of three teams who will not be considered instant favorites to return to the top flight. Here’s three distinct parts of a path back to the top for the Black Cats. It could take a while.

1) Embrace the fate… — First and foremost, Sunderland needs to accept that its failure was all its own doing. This wasn’t “unlucky”. The Black Cats’ five wins came against teams that hardly lit the league on fire this season: Hull City, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Leicester City, and Watford. They have a minus-34 goal differential, are one of three teams to allow 60-plus goals and have scored a joint-lowest 26. Bad.

2) …And that it’s bigger than Moyes, Big Sam, almost any manager — It’s cute to point to the “heroics” of former managers Sam Allardyce, Paolo Di Canio, or Gus Poyet, but those bosses had more to work with than David Moyes did in this season.

You have to go 65 players to reach Sunderland’s top player through advanced stats site WhoScored, and 39 on Squawka. The former is Jordan Pickford, a player who will be in significant demand as an England U-21 player. The latter is a 34-year-old striker Jermain Defoe, and his rating is based on a hot start to the season (Defoe didn’t score following a brace on Feb. 4, a run that include nine goalless matches for his side).

Both seem gone, and other strong players seem close behind: Papy Djilobodji, Wahbi Khazri, Lamine Kone, and Didier N’Dong will have suitors, and represent some of the only strong buys in recent years. Will any consider staying?

And Patrick Van Aanholt isn’t coming through that door, while Adnan Januzaj, Jason Denayer, Seb Larsson, and Jan Kirchhoff are out of contract. The Black Cats are going to have to find a way to attract talent to the Northeast when London is the center of football.

3) Follow your neighbors – Now here’s where David Moyes, or whoever, has to convince Ellis Short to open his pocketbook. Newcastle United did it last summer with Rafa Benitez, and pretty much cruised to promotion at its first chance.

Newcastle had better resources to exploit in selling Giorginio Wijnaldum, Moussa Sissoko, and Andros Townsend to the tune of nearly $90 million, and did it along with the feat of convincing notorious bottom-liner Mike Ashley to reinvest almost all of it to get PL somewhat outcasts Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie, DeAndre Yedlin, Ciaran Clark, and Isaac Hayden, who have shined in the promotion bid (A clever loan for Christian Atsu didn’t hurt).

They also convinced players who would shine in the Championship: Jamaal Lascelles, Jonjo Shelvey, and Ayoze Perez to stick around.

Sunderland doesn’t have any elite young attacking talents and will only make so much money off Khazri, Djilobodji, Defoe, and Kone. And Moyes’ embarrassing “slap” comments make it harder to expect enthusiasm if Sunderland keeps him on board.

But let’s assume there isn’t a better candidate than Moyes to guide the ship — and Sunderland hasn’t had a wealth of options in hiring its bosses at Premier League level — it makes sense to give him and his staff the chance to bring in players who are not his former also-rans at Everton.

Completely speculating, but if Sunderland finds its Ritchie and Gayle, maybe it can buck the trend. It wasn’t Newcastle alone, as there’s a decent standard of finding players from the upper levels to get there: Glenn Murray helped Brighton this year, and Joey Barton and Michael Keane at Burnley in 2016.

Sunderland relegated from Premier League

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Timely saves from Artur Boruc kept Bournemouth in the match, and Joshua King‘s latest addition to his pile of goals sent Sunderland to the Championship with a 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

The loss ends the Black Cats’ longest tenure in the Premier League at 11 years, and the Black Cats were booed off the pitch.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Steve Cook had an in-tight shot meander through a pile of bodies but wind wide of the post, as Bournemouth had Sunderland living inside its own half.

Sunderland created one threat on goal when Fabio Borini tore into a 25-yard shot from a diagonal angle. Artur Boruc was caught offguard but parried the ball, and Jermain Defoe blazed the rebound wide.

Defoe curled a shot just over the bar in the 19th minute, as the Black Cats showed another sign of life.

Joshua King nearly made Defoe pay for his miss by chipping Jordan Pickford and hitting both the cross bar and right post.

The Black Cats could have been ahead when Didier N’Dong surprised by heading Bournemouth’s clearance over the fray and onto Defoe’s foot, but the striker’s chance went directly to Boruc.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Boruc needed extension to parry Borini as Sunderland buzzed into the second half.

Wahbi Khazri was denied by a sliding Steve Cook in the 55th minute, and had two chances to serve when his corner was blocked. Lamine Kone headed over the frame, and it remained scoreless.

There was a scuffle in the 75th minute, calling three referees to the pitch to determine discipline after a dozen players came together. Fabio Borini and Harry Arter both saw yellow, but the sides remained at 11 each.

Khazri and King had penalty kick claims denied less than a minute apart in the last 10 minutes of play.

Boruc denied Defoe moments before Cook’s back directed the striker’s shot over the frame.

That’s when Bournemouth broke on a counter, with King slotting behind Pickford in a goal that effectively ended Sunderland’s PL tenure with two minutes to play.

Premier League roundup: Man City, Spurs bury their chances

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With Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Liverpool all waiting to play, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur firmed up their Top Four chances with blowout wins on Saturday.

At the other end of the table, it’s looking more and more like a two-horse race to avoid one relegation slot (although Middlesbrough has matches-in-hand). Hull City and Swansea City both lost Saturday.

Southampton 0-3 Manchester CityRECAP

Nil-nil at half, Pep Guardiola‘s men built momentum throughout the second half. Vincent Kompany scored his first Premier League goal in 20 months before Kevin De Bruyne teed up Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero for insurance markers. City goes third, level on matches with Liverpool.

Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 BournemouthRECAP

Spurs just keep piling up blowout wins, this one behind two goals in each half. Moussa Dembele and Heung-Min Son buried markers in the first half, then Harry Kane added his 20th of the season before Vincent Janssen rounded out the scoring in stoppage time. Spurs are back within four points of leaders Chelsea.

Stoke City 3-1 Hull CityRECAP

Marko Arnautovic was a man possessed, but it was a lay-off to Xherdan Shaqiri that led to an otherworldly highlight. Those two were joined on Stoke’s scoresheet by Peter Crouch, while Harry Maguire scored Hull’s lone goal. The Tigers remain two points ahead of Swansea for the final safe spot in the league.

Watford 1-0 Swansea CityRECAP

Etienne Capoue scored his first goal of 2017, stopping Swansea City from taking advantage of Hull City’s stumble. Swans remain 18th.

Crystal Palace 2-2 Leicester City — RECAP

Christian Benteke and Yohan Cabaye led the Eagles to a come-from-behind point as Palace moved closer to ensuring its Premier League future. Jamie Vardy and Robert Huth opened the scoring for Leicester.

Sunderland 2-2 West Ham UnitedRECAP

Wahbi Khazri scored an Olimpico and Fabio Borini also scored, but Sunderland will lament not nabbing all three points from the Irons. Andre Ayew and James Collins netted for the visitors.

Everton 3-1 Burnley — RECAP

Everton started slow, but rallied to score three second-half goals. Phil Jagielka and Sam Vokes traded goals before a Ben Mee own goal and Romelu Lukaku beauty teamed up to close it out at Goodison Park.

Sunderland 2-2 West Ham: Not enough for battling Black Cats

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  • West Ham took lead through Ayew, Collins
  • Sunderland equalized through Khazri, Borini
  • Black Cats bottom on 21 points
  • 1 win in 7 for West Ham

Sunderland drew 2-2 with West Ham United at the Stadium of Light on Saturday but David Moyes‘ men still looked destined for relegation.

West Ham, who had Sam Byram sent off in second half stoppage time, twice took the lead through Andre Ayew and James Collins, but Sunderland dug deep as Wahbi Khazri scored directed from a corner and Fabio Borini netted a late equalizer.

Sunderland stay bottom on 21 points with the draw, while West Ham’s poor run continues as they have 37 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

The Hammers took the lead early on through Ayew as Andy Carroll‘s shot fell into his patch and the Ghanaian finished superbly. 1-0 to West Ham and the worst possible start for Sunderland.

Robert Snodgrass then curled a wonderful bending effort just wide from the edge of the box as West Ham threatened to go further ahead.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Darron Gibson smashed an effort wide as Sunderland tried to battle back into the game and they scored a freak equalizer to give them hope.

Khazri’s corner from the left missed everyone and nestled into the far corner as Darren Randolph couldn’t get past Victor Anichebe. 1-1.

Buoyed by that equalizer the Black Cats pushed on and Billy Jones fired an effort just wide and Lee Cattermole went down in the box under a challenge from Snodgrass but no penalty kick was awarded.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Just two minutes into the second half Collins put West Ham ahead with a header from close range as he nodded home Snodgrass’ corner. 2-1 to the Hammers.

The Black Cats pushed hard to get back into the game with Didier Ndong‘s shot going way over the bar, then Jermain Defoe‘s effort was blocked from close range.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

Late on there was a nasty collision which involved Jones and the Sunderland man was stretchered off the pitch with a serious looking injury. His replacement Borini soon had Sunderland level in the 90th minute.

Randolph tried to clear a cross but he got it all wrong as the ball fell to Borini who finished calmly with his first contribution on the pitch. 2-2.

Byram was sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow after fouling Adnan Januzaj and despite plenty of balls into the box the Black Cats could break through.

Despite Sunderland playing well, Moyes’ men came up short and relegation from the Premier League seems like a forgone conclusion at this point despite a battling display.