Aston Villa have been relegated from the Premier League after losing 1-0 to Manchester United at Old Trafford. The Red Devils won the uninspiring match thanks to a first-half strike from their in-form teenage star Marcus Rashford, who swept home a low cross from Antonio Valencia to score the all-important goal.
Prior to kick-off, Villa knew they needed to win in order to maintain their Premier League status, but the away side appeared content to play for a draw from the outset. Caretaker manager Eric Black adopted a defence approach, with Villa setting up to play on the counter-attack.
But United – for whom Wayne Rooney was returned to the starting line-up in place of the rested Anthony Martial – broke their stubborn resistance on 32 minutes, when Rashford poked the ball home from close range.
The Reds appeared to be coasting to a predictably comfortable win thereafter, until substitute Rudy Gestede struck the post from a corner kick in the dying minutes. United held on for victory, though, and the result means Villa have been relegated from the top flight league for the first time since 1986/87.
Earlier in the day, Sam Allardyce's Sunderland side won a potentially pivotal game 3-0 against their relegation rivals Norwich City at Carrow Road. The Mackems took the lead in the first-half courtesy of a expertly taken penalty from Italian striker Fabio Borini, who smashed the ball low and into the bottom corner after Andre Wisdom fouled him inside the area.
Jermain Defoe doubled Sunderland's lead early in the second-half, getting on the end of a Borini cross to bundle the ball home from close range. And Duncan Watmore scored a third goal in injury time to put some gloss on the scoreline and move the away side to within one point of the Canaries.
Elsewhere, Newcastle also boosted their hopes of surviving the dreaded drop with an emphatic 3-0 win against Swansea City at St James' Park. The hosts took the lead in a cagey first-half thanks to a headed effort from Jamaal Lascelles.
Thereafter, the Swans spurned a couple of golden goalscoring chances of their own through Ashley Williams and Jefferson Montero, before late strikes from Moussa Sissoko and Andros Townsend gave Rafael Benitez's men all three points. Victory means the Magpies are now just three points adrift of safety with five games remaining.
On Merseyside, Southampton's hopes of securing European football suffered a blow as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton at Goodison Park. The home side took the lead on 68 minutes with a goal from centre-back Ramiro Funes Mori, whose shot deflected off Ryan Bertrand and into the Saints' net. But Southampton equalised when Sadio Mane swept in a shot in the 76th minute.
In the Midlands, meanwhile, West Brom striker Saido Berahino missed two second-half penalties against Watford, who claimed an unusual win courtesy of a 27th-minute effort from midfielder Ben Watson.
Berhaino – who has been persistently linked with a move away from The Hawthorns – saw both of his penalty efforts saved by Heurelho Gomes in the Hornets' goal. The result moves Watford above the Baggies into 12th on 41 points.
In the day's late kick-off, Sergio Aguero netted a hat-trick and Kevin de Bruyne made quite an impression on his first return to Stamford Bridge as Manchester City secured their second 3-0 win of the season over Chelsea. Home goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois conceded a penalty and was shown a straight red card 12 minutes from time for a rash foul on Fernandinho.