Aly Cissokho

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Premier League roundup: Newcastle shakes up Bottom Three; Arsenal wins

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Newcastle United has blown the race to escape the drop zone wide open, while Sunderland still controls its own destiny and Norwich City is angling for a lifeline.

[ MORE: Examining the relegation picture ]

Those are the lessons from a busy day in the Premier League with very little action, let alone movement, in the top half of the table.

Arsenal 1-0 Norwich CityRECAP

There were anti-Arsene Wenger protests before and after the Gunners defeated relegation-threatened Norwich on a Danny Welbeck goal, and Arsenal’s performance did little to quell the embattled manager’s critics. That said, the Gooners’ club remains in the Top Three while Norwich sits 19th place.

Newcastle United 1-0 Crystal PalaceRECAP

Andros Townsend curled home a gorgeous free kick, and Karl Darlow made a tremendous penalty stop on ex-Magpies star Yohan Cabaye as Newcastle rose out of the relegation zone for the first time since Valentine’s Day by defeating former manager Alan Pardew‘s Eagles. Palace continues its Premier League woes in 2016, and sits 7 points clear of the drop.

Stoke City 1-1 SunderlandRECAP

The Black Cats have a right to feel aggrieved after picking up just a single point from the Britannia Stadium. Sunderland did not get a penalty called when Geoff Cameron may’ve handled a cross, and then Peter Crouch picked up a headed assist by boosting himself off Younes Kaboul. But Jermain Defoe earned and converted a penalty kick that was just as suspect, and Sunderland remains a point back of Newcastle.

Watford 3-2 Aston VillaRECAP

WATFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 30: Troy Deeney of Watford celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Watford and Aston Villa at Vicarage Road on April 30, 2016 in Watford, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Troy Deeney grew up a Birmingham City fan, and my did he enjoy sticking the knife in the relegated enemy of his younger days. The Watford captain scored twice in stoppage time to avenge a 2-1 deficit and rise above 10-man Villa. Ciaran Clark scored early for Villa, but Almen Abdi scored a free kick for Watford, its first in PL history, to make it 1-1. Jordan Ayew put Villa ahead, but Aly Cissokho drew straight red with 16 minutes to play. That’s when Deeney went to work, and Watford went into the win column.

Everton 2-1 BournemouthRECAP

What began with an emotional tribute to the Hillsborough 96 and their families ended with a much-needed win for Roberto Martinez. Leighton Baines scored his first goal from the run of play since 2013, while Tom Cleverley also scored for the Toffees. Marc Pugh scored for Bournemouth.

West Bromwich Albion 0-3 West Ham UnitedRECAP

Slaven Bilic‘s Hammers aren’t giving up in their quest to reach the Top Four, as industrious Mark Noble grabbed two goals in leading West Ham to a big road win. Tony Pulis‘ dogged defense couldn’t hold serve against the Irons, who pull into fifth pending the result of Manchester United’s Sunday match against Leicester City.

Watford 3-2 Aston Villa: Late surge wins it for Hornets

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  • Two late goals from Deeney
  • Villa led twice
  • Cissokho sent off
  • Villa now lost 11-straight

Watford beat 10-man Aston Villa 3-2 at Vicarage Road on Saturday in a wild encounter in Hertfordshire.

Aston Villa twice took the lead twice through Ciaran Clark and Jordan Ayew but Watford’s Almen Abdi had equalized right on half time. Until Aly Cissokho was sent off in the second half things were looking pretty for Villa but two late Troy Deeney goals — Deeney is a fan of Villa’s arch-rivals, Birmingham City — turned the game on its head.

Watford have now secured their Premier League status for another season and sit on 44 points, while Villa remain bottom on 16 points and have now lost a club record 26 games this season.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Watford started the better of the two teams and pinned Villa back into their own half.

Odion Ighalo cut inside and had his effort saved by Mark Bunn and then the Hornets came agonizingly close to taking the lead.

Ben Watson controlled the ball and sent a magnificent volley towards the top corner but it hit the crossbar and bounced out. So close.

Moments later, though, dominant Watford were behind. An Ashley Westwood corner from the left found Clark and he headed home. 1-0 to Villa as they converted their first chance of the game.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Villa nearly doubled their lead just before the break but Jordan Ayew sent his stooping ahead against the post and moments later it was 1-1. A free kick right on half time saw Abdi step up and curl the ball up and over the wall and into the bottom corner. Hornets level.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

At the start of the second half Villa came flying out of the traps and Ayew put them back ahead with a fine finish. 2-1.

Rudy Gestede then went close as Villa closed in on just a fourth win of the season but then a potential second away win of the season was thrown into jeopardy.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Ikechi Anya raced free and last man Cissokho was adjudged to have fouled him and received a straight red card. Cissokho looked to have got a little on the ball and Villa could feel hard done by to be down to 10-men.

It took Watford until the 90th minute to make that advantage count as Deeney scored twice in three minutes to spark wild scenes at Vicarage Road and hand the Hornets a win which secured their PL status for another season.

Aston Villa 0-4 Chelsea: Blues batter hopeless Villa

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  • Pato scores on Chelsea debut
  • Villa lose seventh-straight PL game
  • Loftus-Cheek nets first PL goal
  • USMNT’s Miazga makes Chelsea debut

Chelsea beat 10-man Aston Villa 4-0 on Saturday at a sunny Villa Park with Pedro scoring twice in the second half to add to first half goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Pato.

[ MORE: Miazga Watch – How’d he do? ]

U.S. international Matt Miazga made his Chelsea and Premier League debut and didn’t put a foot wrong, albeit it against a very poor Villa outfit who went closest to scoring through Jordan Ayew. Alan Hutton was sent off for a second yellow late on as Villa’s miserable season continues but Chelsea is now unbeaten in 15 Premier League games.

The Blues move up to ninth place on 44 points, while Villa remain bottom with a seventh-straight defeat and they look destined for relegation as they sit 12 points off safety with six games to go.

[ MORE: Watch full match replays

Chelsea started brightly with Pedro shifting the ball onto his right foot and curling just over Brad Guzan‘s bar.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek looked lively and was full of running to support Loic Remy, while Pedro had a goal disallowed for offside after 20 minutes.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Pato came on to replace the injured Loic Remy after 20 minutes and moments later Chelsea were ahead.

John Obi Mikel kept possession and played it to Pedro who found Cesar Azpilicueta out wide. His cross was swept home by academy product Loftus-Cheek via a deflection off Villa’s Joleon Lescott. 1-0 to Chelsea.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings

Loftus-Cheek impressed throughout the first half and his first PL goal was the icing on the cake. Villa almost got level as Baba Rahman‘s clearance cannoned off Ayew but Thibaut Courtois saved from close range.

Ayew slide another effort just wide and Loftus-Cheek intercepted Carlos Sanchez’s pass but curled his low effort just wide. Right on half time Pato won a penalty kick as Aly Cissokho hauled him down in the box and the Brazilian slotted home the penalty kick to score on his debut. 2-0.

Just 49 seconds into the second half Chelsea went 3-0 up as half time sub Oscar played a one-two with Pato and played in Pedro to slot home. Game over.

USMNT man Miazga looked composed on the ball and at ease in defense throughout and the 20-year-old certainly had a debut to remember.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Pedro made it 4-0 on the hour mark as Pato’s shot was parried out by Guzan and straight to the Spaniard who tucked home his second of the game.

Villa’s fans booed their team for the remainder of the game — as Hutton received two yellow cards to get sent off — in a volatile atmosphere as Chelsea eased to victory and hardly got out of second gear for the final 30 minutes.

Swansea City 1-0 Aston Villa: Guzan error costs Villans in sloppy match

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  • Fernandez scores rare goal
  • A howler for USMNT’s Guzan
  • Testy affair all but dooms Villa

Brad Guzan‘s decisive error helped Federico Fernandez score his first league goal in three years, and Swansea City made its Premier League survival fairly certain with a 1-0 win at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

Swans moved eight points clear of 17th place Norwich City and 11 ahead of Sunderland in the race for safety, while Aston Villa is now 12 points back of Norwich with seven matches to play.

[ MORE: Watch full match replays

Villa was strong in the first stages of the match, perhaps unshackled by the near certainty of their Premier League relegation.

And intensity was on tap, as Ashley Williams tangled with Rudy Gestede after a foul around 20 minutes into the match. The two shoved and there was even hand-to-face contact without a yellow given by Mike Dean.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Aly Cissokho was on a yellow card and held back Mo Barrow. He didn’t get a second yellow, but the foul allowed Swansea to take a dangerous free kick. That’s when Guzan made a horrible error in judgment, and Fernandez headed home. Poor, poor goalkeeping from the USMNT veteran.

Manchester City 4-0 Aston Villa: Aguero helps City take opportunity with both hands

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  • Aguero scores two
  • Yaya, Sterling also score
  • Villa stay 20th with 16 points
  • Guzan saves Aguero PK

Sergio Aguero missed a penalty which would’ve given him a hat trick, and that can be Manchester City’s only complaint after burying Aston Villa on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium.

A scoreless first half gave way to a sky blue second, as Aguero netted twice to go with goals from Yaya Toure and Raheem Sterling in a 4-0 win.

City stays fourth, two points back of Arsenal with a match in hand. Aston Villa is now nine points back of 17th place.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Sergio Aguero absolutely worked Aly Cissokho to the right edge of the six, and Guzan did well to stop the Argentine’s curling effort from seeing the back of the goal.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Yaya finally put City ahead with a casual-enough pass home in the 48th minute, after a set-up from David Silva and Aguero.

It was 2-0 less than a minute later, as Wilfried Bony‘s through ball into the 18 was ripped off Aguero and into the goal on Micah Richards‘ attempted clearance.

Aguero blasted a shot past Guzan, near post, to make it 3-0 in the 61st minute. Sterling added his goal, off a Navas pass, soon afterwards.

The rain kept pouring when Kelechi Iheanacho won a penalty by wrongfooting Ciaran Clark. But Guzan stopped Aguero’s effort to keep it 4-0.