Aston Villa's Premier League existence hangs by a thread after AFC Bournemouth all but secured their top flight status with victory at Villa Park. Erik Black's team are now 15 points adrift of safety with five games remaining and with a less than favourable goal difference meaning their relegation to the Championship is merely a formality.
Goals either side of half time from The Cherries – who moved to 41 points with a win – from Steve Cook and striker Joshua King did the damage and though Jordan Ayew pulled one back for the hosts they were unable to rouse themselves for a late comeback. Defeat means Villa must win all five of their remaining matches, starting against Manchester United next weekend [16 April].
Newcastle United are looking increasingly likely to join Villa in the second tier after being condemned to their ninth straight away league defeat by Southampton. Shane Long opened the scoring after four minutes before some spineless defending saw Graziano Pelle and Victor Wanyama add to the lead. Andros Townsend hammered home a consolation but manager Rafael Benitez remains without a win during his short tenure while his team are still six points from safety.
With Sunderland not playing until Sunday [10 April] against leaders Leicester City, Norwich City missed the chance to extend the gap between themselves and Sam Allardyce's team after losing narrowly against Crystal Palace – who won for the first time since January. Jason Puncheon scored the only goal as the Eagles went 10 points clear of the drop zone, leaving the Canaries looking over their shoulder.
At the other end, Arsenal's title challenge took a fatal blow as they were held by West Ham United in a thrilling game in the last London derby to be played at Upton Park. Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez's first half goals put the Gunners into the ascendency, but Andy Carroll ignited his attempts to force his way in England's European Championship squad with a hat-trick. Laurent Koscielny knocked in an equaliser to claim a point which damages both the Hammers' top four hopes and Arsene Wenger's side's brief title dream.
Manchester City moved to within two points of the north Londoners and temporarily extended their lead over Manchester United with a fortuitous win over West Bromwich Albion. Just 72 hours before the visit of Paris Saint Germain in the Champions League, Stephane Sessegnon put The Baggies ahead but then conceded a penalty which Sergio Aguero, who later went off injured, converted. Samir Nasri then marked his first top flight start since September with the winner mid-way through the second half, to take City four points clear of fifth place United.
At the Liberty Stadium, Swansea City ended Guus Hiddink's 14-man unbeaten run as Chelsea manager in the Premier League as Gylfi Sigurdsson smashed home a first half volley. The win takes the Swans to 40 points for the season and ends the Blues' realistic hopes of claiming a European place.
Everton fans used the trip to Watford to call for the sacking of Roberto Martinez, but the Toffees did end a run of three straight league defeats with a draw at Vicarage Road. James McCarthy netted a minute into added on time in the first half but Watford – themselves on a four-game losing streak – secured the point as Jose Holebas netted before the break.