Sunderland secured their place in next Premier League season and confirmed the relegation of Norwich City and nearby opponents Newcastle United with a 3-0 win over Everton. Centre back Lamine Kone scored two goals from close range after Patrick van Aanholt netted a 25-yard free-kick that was wrongly guessed by goalkeeper Joel Robles. Triumph capped a noteworthy recovery by Sam Allardyce’s team, who have been beaten in just two of their last 13 Premier League matches. Everton were appalling, putting more pressure on manager Roberto Martinez.
The Toffees have collected just six points from their last 10 Premier League games and the Spaniard is prone to confront an uncomfortable last match of the season ahead of displeased group of people at Goodison Park. On the other hand, Allardyce will have the capacity to take his team to Watford on Sunday unburdened by the scare of relegation that have encompassed the club since his appointment in October. With the victory, they are four points clear from both Newcastle and Norwich with only one game remaining.
The existence of Sunderland was based on some crucial decisions this season, the most important was the appointment of Allardyce after the resign of Dick Advocaat following eight winless games in beginning of this Premier League season. Hardened to the battle from his experiences at Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers and with time on his side, 61 years old has relentlessly constructed a well-organized and vigorous team, sprinkled with match- winners.
It has not generally been smooth sailing – particularly in a five-game losing line at the end of last year – however since February they have been more stable and had far greater battle than their major relegation opponents. They demonstrated this once again yesterday with another fully attempted performance ahead of an enthusiastic home crowd, who repeated their manager’s name all through a lap of honour after the final whistle.