Swansea earns lifeline, Hull squanders opportunity; City closer to top four confirmation


LONDON, May 7: Swansea City have climbed out of the Premier League’s relegation zone with a 1-0 win against Everton, giving their survival aspirations a significant boost.

After Hull City suffered a surprise 2-0 defeat against relegated Sunderland earlier in the day, Fernando Llorente’s first-half header sealed a precious win for the Welsh side.

The Swans defended resiliently for large periods of the second half but could have extended their lead, and eased the growing tension around the Liberty Stadium, had Llorente and Leroy Fer done better with promising chances amid the Everton pressure.

Swansea, who have 35 points, face bottom-of-the-table Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion in their final two games while Hull, on 34 points, play Crystal Palace and finish with a difficult game against Tottenham Hotspur.

Everton sit seventh with 58 points from 36 games.

Hull City’s hopes of avoiding Premier League relegation suffered a body blow after goals from Billy Jones and Jermain Defoe condemned them to a 2-0 home defeat by already axed Sunderland.

The result left Hull one place above the drop zone in 17th on 34 points from 36 games.

Right back Jones headed in a 69th-minute opener against the run of play and Defoe bundled in the second goal in stoppage time, although video replays showed he was offside when a free kick from the right was delivered into his path.

Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford enjoyed a superb afternoon as he pulled off a string of excellent saves, denying Sam Lucas, Lazar Markovic and Abel Hernandez as Hull pressed forward relentlessly but were let down by poor finishing.

Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross deflected the ball into his own net to earn Bournemouth a 2-2 draw and ensure the Cherries will play Premier League football again next season.

Stoke had not scored away from home since January and it was Bournemouth midfielder Lys Mousset who broke the drought, heading Marko Arnautovic’s corner into his own goal in the 33rd minute.

Junior Stanislas deftly guided home the equaliser for Bournemouth on the hour mark before Stoke striker Mame Biram Diouf scored his first Premier League goal of the season.

Shawcross deflected Josh King’s shot into his own net with eight minutes left to leave Bournemouth 10th in the table, three places ahead of Stoke.

Leicester City have climbed into the top half of the Premier League for the first time since September after a comfortable 3-0 victory over Watford.

With both teams safely in mid-table, the opening exchanges lacked energy until Wilfred Ndidi finished emphatically after Danny Drinkwater’s cross was not dealt with by Watford’s defence.

Having earlier hit the crossbar, Riyad Mahrez, playing his 100th Premier League match, doubled the advantage by capitalising on more sloppy defending to stab home in the 58th minute.

Marc Albrighton completed the victory with an excellent third, finishing off the woodwork after Jamie Vardy’s break in the 93rd minute.

Leicester, who fell as low as 18th in February, climbed to ninth with 43 points from 35 games – three more than Watford in 15th.

Manchester City have strengthened their Premier League top-four aspirations with a 5-0 thrashing of a woeful Crystal Palace side at the Etihad Stadium.

City never looked back after David Silva’s 50th goal for the club in the second minute on Saturday, although it was not until the second half that the floodgates opened with Vincent Kompany, Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Otamendi all on target.

Victory moved City into third place with 69 points, above Liverpool on goal difference. Fifth-placed Manchester United, who play Arsenal on Sunday, have 65.

Palace’s third consecutive defeat means they are still anxiously looking over their shoulders at the teams below them.

Burnley have edged a point closer to Premier League survival after Sam Vokes scored a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw at home to West Bromwich Albion.

Vokes had given Burnley the lead in the 56th minute but West Brom hit back with goals by Salomon Rondon and Craig Dawson.

With five minutes remaining Vokes looped a header over Ben Foster who found himself out of position.

Burnley need one point from two games to be mathematically assured of a second successive top-flight season.