Hull City and Swansea City earned valuable victories in their battle for Premier League survival, but Middlesbrough slid further towards the drop after a 4-0 hammering at Bournemouth on Saturday.
Hull’s 2-0 win over Stoke City and Swansea’s identical score-line against Watford increased the pressure on Crystal Palace and Burnley, who are hovering above the relegation zone and play Liverpool and Manchester United respectively on Sunday.
Fernando Llorente opened the scoring for Swansea City. Photo: Peter Cziborra, Action Images via Reuters
With four games remaining, 17th-placed Hull are just a place above the drop zone with 33 points to the 31 of Swansea.
Boro are in 19th spot on 24 points and Sunderland are bottom on 21.
Hull had a tough task after Oumar Niasse was surprisingly shown a straight red card after 25 minutes for a challenge on M’Baye Niang.
But the Tigers took the lead just past the hour when Liverpool loanee Lazar Markovic scored from close range after his header had bounced down on the goal line.
Hull made sure of the points nine minutes later when Sam Clucas found the top corner with superb 30-metre shot.
They have now won four consecutive home league games.
Spanish striker Fernando Llorente gave Swansea the lead with a trademark header from a corner in the 10th minute, and the Welsh side were given a break when Marko Arnautovic missed a second-half penalty.
Swansea made sure of the win when Tom Carroll’s shot found the top corner via a deflection off Joe Allen.
Time is running out for Boro who have not won in 16 league games, and they endured a nightmare opening 20 minutes in which they conceded two goals and had midfielder Gaston Ramirez sent off for a second booking.
Josh King scored just 96 seconds into the match, and Benik Afobe doubled the advantage for the Cherries.
Winger Marc Push made it 3-0 and Charlie Daniels completed the rout.
Meanwhile, West Ham and Everton played out a 0-0 draw in a desperately poor Premier League encounter at the London Stadium on Saturday.
It took 28 minutes for the first effort on goal, and recalled Everton goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg saved comfortably from Havard Nordtveit’s shot from outside the box.
Visiting manager Ronald Koeman made a double change at the break, introducing Gareth Barry and Ademola Lookman, and the tempo improved in the second period.
Lookman forced two opportunities in quick succession and put both wide, while Stekelenburg saved from Manuel Lanzini, but there were few nervous moments for either side.