It was a packed afternoon of drama in the Premier League this afternoon. Luke Moore rounds up the action...
"...the Tigers had plenty of chances of their own and will now be confident of avoiding slipping into the Championship with five of their next six games looking eminently winnable."
Sunderland suffer severe setback
It was yet another afternoon of deep disappointment for Sunderland fans at the Stadium of Light his afternoon as their team suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Southampton, eventually going down 0-4 to a resurgent south coast side.
The Black Cats, fresh from their 0-4 beating of fellow strugglers Crystal Palace last time out, sadly reverted to type and were outclassed in every department by a Saints team who haven't been without problems themselves this season. David Moyes will be especially frustrated after what he witnessed last weekend at Selhurst Park, and will feel the club have taken two steps forward only to take another two back a week later.
Moyes' charges now find themselves just a 1.282/7 poke for the drop this season, and on this showing it's not difficult to see why.
Stoke shade it and and put Palace in deep trouble
The 'Big Sam' effect is still refusing to materialise at Crystal Palace as they were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Stoke and now find themselves in deep, deep trouble at the wrong end of the table. Palace, who were keen to avoid relegation at the hands of yet another Alan Pardew slide, turned to Allardyce to rescue their hopes of staying in the top tier, yet the Eagles have won just one league game since the ex-England man took over back in December. They are now odds-on (1.84/5) for relegation, something that was unthinkable six months ago.
Hull rally but Arsenal prove too good
In the afternoon's early kick off, Marco Silva's Hull gave a decent account of themselves at the Emirates before eventually losing 2-0, courtesy of two goals from Alexis Sanchez. The first looked like a fairly blatant handball that was allowed to stand by referee Mark Clattenburg and the second goal to seal it came deep in injury time after Hull's Sam Clucas handballed on the line to hand Arsenal a penalty and all three points. In between this, the Tigers had plenty of chances of their own and will now be confident of avoiding slipping into the Championship with five of their next six games looking eminently winnable. The market makes them 1.845/6 third-favourites for relegation, but this defeat won't knock their momentum and at this point they surely rate as a lay for the dreaded drop.
Elsewhere in the top flight, West Ham shared the spoils with West Brom in a 2-2 draw, Man United cast Watford aside 2-0 and are now rated a 2.0421/20 shot for a top four finish, and Middlesbrough held Everton to a 0-0 draw, retaining their excellent defensive record - something that should keep them in the Premier League come May.