LONDON: Aston Villa slumped to the brink of relegation from the top-flight for the first time in 29 years after a 2-1 home defeat against Bournemouth.
Villa, who have won both the league title and FA Cup seven times in their history as well as the European Cup in 1982, have looked destined to drop out of the Barclays Premier League for weeks, sacking Remi Garde in March after five months in charge.
A 23rd league loss of a miserable league campaign was inflicted by a goal from Cherries defender Steve Cook in first-half stoppage time and an effort from Joshua King, who capitalised on more poor defending to score after 73 minutes.
Jordan Ayew netted a late consolation for Villa, firing in from 12 yards with five minutes left, but many home fans had already left the stadium.
Only Norwich‘s 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace stopped their relegation from being confirmed, but Villa lie 15 points from safety with only 15 left to play for.
Newcastle‘s relegation worries also deepened after losing 3-1 at Southampton, a result which leaves Rafael Benitez’s men six points off safety.
Shane Long fired the Saints ahead after only four minutes, with Graziano Pelle also capitalising on some wayward defending to double the home side’s lead on 38 minutes. Victor Wanyama knocked in a third 10 minutes after the break.
Andros Townsend scored a fine strike from 25 yards on 65 minutes, but it was little consolation after a miserable afternoon on the south coast for the travelling Toon Army.
Palace won for the first time in 2016 with a second-half goal from Jason Puncheon, which could prove enough to secure the Eagles’ top-flight status.
Norwich, who had picked up successive victories to pull out of the relegation zone, felt they should have had a first-half penalty after Matt Jarvis appeared to be barged over by Damien Delaney, but could do nothing to prevent Puncheon curling in a fine 20-yard effort on 68 minutes.
Andy Carroll scored a hat-trick as West Ham fought back from 2-0 down to draw 3-3 with Arsenal at Upton Park, dealing another blow to the Gunners’ fading title hopes.
Arsenal were in control following first-half goals by Mesut Ozil (18) and Alexis Sanchez (35), but the Irons levelled following a quick-fire double by Carroll just before half-time.
Carroll put West Ham ahead for the first time on 52 minutes, before Laurent Koscielny secured a draw for Arsene Wenger’s men, who are now 10 points behind Leicester, who play relegation-battlers Sunderland on Sunday.
Swansea beat Chelsea 1-0 to reach 40 points.
The Swans went ahead on 26 minutes through a volley from Gylfi Sigurdsson, while Chelsea had a goal by Alexandre Pato ruled out for handball early in the second half.
FA Cup semi-finalists Watford and Everton drew 1-1 with both goals coming in stoppage time at the end of the first half.
Midfielder James McCarthy put the visitors in front, but the lead did not last long as defender Jose Holebas headed the Hornets level.