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The Guardian has 987 articles published.

Roberto Martínez to attend Everton’s end-of-season awards as sack looms

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• Manager on brink of losing job at Goodison Park
• Spaniard could go before Norwich game on Sunday

Roberto Martínez is scheduled to attend Everton’s end-of-season awards night on Thursday despite being on the brink of losing his job at Goodison Park.

Related: Frank de Boer to leave Ajax after agent says Dutchman would love Everton job

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Frank de Boer to leave Ajax – video report

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Dutch manager Frank de Boer is to leave his club of over five years, Ajax, the club has announced after a 1-1 draw against De Graafschap on 8 May, which meant Ajax failed to win the Dutch title. De Boer will leave the side after completing a tour of China. UK media have suggested that De Boer might replace Everton manager Roberto Martínez

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Sam Allardyce hails Sunderland’s escape from relegation – video

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The Sunderland manager, Sam Allardyce, is jubilant after his team avoided relegation from the Premier League with a 3-0 win against Everton at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday. Allardyce says the win shows how far his team have come in the past year. Sunderland’s win consigned Newcastle United to the Championship

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Frank de Boer leaves Ajax after agent says Dutchman would love Everton job

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• De Boer goes with year on contract and says he is unsure of next move
• Ajax imploded in title race on final day of the season in Holland

The Ajax coach Frank de Boer is to leave the Dutch side after five and a half years in charge, the club announced on Thursday.

Related: Sunderland safe after Lamine Koné double sinks crumbling Everton

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Frank de Boer to leave Ajax after agent says Dutchman would love Everton job

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• De Boer to go with year on contract and says he is unsure of next move
• Ajax imploded in title race on final day of the season in Holland

The Ajax coach Frank de Boer is to leave the Dutch side after five and a half years in charge, the club announced on Thursday.

Related: Sunderland safe after Lamine Koné double sinks crumbling Everton

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Sam Allardyce in dance mode after ‘one of my greatest achievements’

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• Allardyce: ‘To be safe with one game to go is pretty miraculous’
• Sunderland manager now aims to stop cycle of survival struggles

Sam Allardyce dad-danced across the pitch as his Sunderland side celebrated their latest escape from relegation on a night when Newcastle United and Norwich City were condemned to the Championship.

Sunderland’s 3-0 win against Roberto Martínez’s struggling Everton was sufficient to end survival hopes on Tyneside and in Norfolk. Although Alex Neil’s side defeated Watford 4-2 at Carrow Road it was not enough to save his team, who go down with Aston Villa and Newcastle.

Related: Sunderland safe after Lamine Koné double sinks crumbling Everton

Related: Sam Allardyce shows Sunderland escape route to spell doom for Newcastle | Louise Taylor

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Sam Allardyce shows Sunderland escape route to spell doom for Newcastle | Louise Taylor

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The Wearside club’s manager’s know-how earned reward from his tireless troops as they secured survival but Newcastle’s Rafael Benítez must decide whether he will be happy in the Championship

A “re you watching?” the crowd inquired. “Are you watching Newcastle?” Down in the technical area Sam Allardyce smiled through his chewing gum and Roberto Martínez seemed to shiver.

Related: Sunderland safe after Lamine Koné double sinks crumbling Everton

Related: Newcastle ‘devastated’ by relegation, says managing director Lee Charnley

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Sunderland 3-0 Everton: Premier League – as it happened

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Sunderland, energetic and effervescent against a miserable Everton, secured their Premier League status at the expense of Norwich City and neighbours Newcastle United.

The final whistle blows! The Stadium of Light bursts with relief and celebration! Sunderland are deserved winners tonight, and on the basis of their late-season form, deserved Premier League survivors! They’ve sent Norwich City and, of all teams, Newcastle United down to the Championship with Aston Villa! A big smile plays across Sam Allardyce’s face. One can only wonder why. “This is really nice, it’s like winning a title,” smiles Jan Kirchhoff. Congratulations to the Black Cats, and commiserations to Newcastle and Norwich, who will be feeling heartbroken tonight.

90 min +5: Mirallas chips over Mannone from the edge of the box, but the ball bounces wide left. Just. Everton have been awful tonight, but they could have had two or three in added time!

90 min +4: Everton’s evening of woe continues. First Mirallas sends a shot towards the top right from the edge of the box. Mannone tips it round for a corner, a wonder save. And from the set piece, the ball falls to the feet of Lukaku, six yards out, but he twangs the crossbar like a bass guitar. E, the lowest, most satisfying note.

90 min +3: … Osman sends a free close-range header inexplicably wide left. It would have been a consolation Everton’s overall performance doesn’t deserve.

90 min +2: Space for Mirallas down the right. He earns a corner, from which …

90 min +1: There will be five added minutes as a result of goal celebrations, substitutions, and tanked-up punters roaring around the place with their junk out. The first sees Lukaku have a pop from distance, but no dice.

90 min: Defoe goes skittering after a long hoof down the left. He enters the box, and should probably feed Watmore, free on his left, but drops a shoulder and has a go himself. Defoe tries to nutmeg Robles at his near post, which normally would qualify as beyond-the-pale cheek against a Premier League professional, but, well, y’know.

89 min: “I live over a mile away from the Stadium of Light,” begins David Inglesby’s report. “The noise in the house from there is deafening!” And no wonder. Their team have been, to a man, brilliant tonight. An exceptional performance.

87 min: Not much going on now. The Sunderland fans entertain themselves by serenading Newcastle United. “I hope the West Ham fans don’t crash the internet with their congratulations to Big Sam,” writes Steve Goldsmith. It’s a love-in, this, all right.

85 min: … and then Watmore comes on for Khazri. A warm round of applause for Khazri, who has been energetic and entertaining tonight.

84 min: It’s time for a couple of curtain calls. Cleverley is replaced by Osman…

82 min: A lull as some tanked-up punter roars around the field with his junk out. Perhaps. They’re not showing his act on TV, so he could be up to anything.

80 min: Pennington, out on the left, sends a safe cross out of play, miles to the right of the Sunderland goal. No blue shirts nearby, no danger. Sunderland fans will be counting no chickens yet. But having said that, the tension has eased to the point where Everton are cat-called mercilessly for the all-round low quality of that attack.

78 min: Sam Allardyce is taking no chances, despite the 3-0 scoreline and Everton’s flaccid impotence. Cattermole, on a booking, is hooked in favour of John O’Shea. He hands over the captain’s armband as he departs.

77 min: Lennon and Barry combine down the right to release Cleverley into the area. The midfielder should shoot, but dallies, attempts a pointless one-two with Lukaku, and sees his eventual attempt for goal squirt off to the left. A corner, which is wasted.

75 min: Khazri, on the the left-hand corner of the Everton box, loops a gorgeous cross to Van Aanholt, bombing in from the right. The full back shapes to sidefoot back across for Defoe, who would have a close-range tap-in, but takes his eye off the ball and doesn’t connect. Goal kick. That would have been an aesthetic delight.

73 min: And now a revived Lukaku glides in from the right and attempts a curler towards the top left. The ball breaks off Kone’s back and out for a corner. From the set piece, Barry heads goalwards from the left-hand corner of the six-yard box, but it’s straight at Mannone, who handles well. Everton have perked up a bit, which is the very least they could do. For large chunks of this match, they’ve been a limp embarrassment to a famous old club.

71 min: Baines loops a ball down the inside-left channel for Lukaku, who works a little bit of space for a shot by the corner of the D. It’s blocked immediately.

70 min: Kirchhoff is replaced by Sebastian Larsson. The substitution eats up a lot of the clock, a masterclass in professional time management. A dispirited Everton are unlikely to complain too much. They’ll just want this to end too.

68 min: Cattermole is booked for a slide on Lennon, 30 yards out. Mirallas sends a free kick towards Funes Mori, on the left-hand corner of the six-yard box. The defender should score, but clanks his header straight at Mannone, who turns the ball round the post for a corner. From the set piece, Baines sends a weak daisycutter straight at Mannone from distance. A little bit of much-missed passion from Everton, though it’s all far too late.

66 min: Van Aanholt charges down the left wing. He slips a pass inside for Defoe, on the edge of the box, to the left of the D. The ball gets caught up between Defoe’s feet, but the striker sorts himself out in double-quick time and fires a no-backlift buzzer towards the top left. Robles for once does the professional thing and parries clear.

64 min: Mind you, that shouldn’t take away from Sunderland’s whirlwind brilliance tonight. They’ve been wonderful in attack, and the defence has come up trumps on the rare occasions they’ve been called into action. Baines swings a free kick into the area from the left, and it’s headed clear with purpose by Kaboul.

62 min: Lennon tries to combine with Lukaku down the right, but the striker’s lazy ball inside to absolutely nobody brings a rare Everton attack to an embarrassing end. Roberto Martinez is on very shaky ground now. It’s one thing losing the head in a Merseyside derby, or being outplayed by the new Premier League champions. But they’re getting bossed, comprehensively, by a team who have only just avoided relegation.

60 min: Defoe breaks into the Everton box down the left, but faffs around and falls over, allowing Funes Mori to wander off with the ball. It’s a party atmosphere in the Stadium of Light, and Everton don’t appear equipped to poop it.

58 min: Everton are in tatters. First Defoe very nearly breaks clear again down the right. He’s denied, but soon enough Khazri is bombing down the left, clear, one on one with the keeper. He unselfishly slides the ball right to Defoe, but plays the ball into the backtracking Funes Mori, who hacks out for a corner that leads to nothing. Meanwhile it’s 4-2 to poor Norwich, who have located the team’s bag of scoring boots far too late.

Khazri very nearly sends a curling corner into the top left. Robles punch-flaps the ball off the line, but only into the back of McCarthy, standing just in front of the post. The ball breaks to Kone in the middle, and he batters home from a couple of yards. What a goalkeeping display this is. What a farce Everton’s defence is. But hats off to Sunderland, who are grabbing their chance of Premier League safety with both hands!

54 min: Everton have hit the 70% possession mark again, enjoying the lion’s share at the start of the half. Much good it looks like doing them, as Yedlin springs Defoe clear down the inside-right channel with a simple long ball. Defoe lobs the outrushing Robles, only for Pennington to hook clear off the line. Corner on the left, from which …

51 min: Stones over-elaborates in the middle of his own half and very nearly allows Defoe to race off with the ball. He’s still got a fair bit to learn, hasn’t he. Meanwhile at the exercise in futility being played out at Carrow Road, Watford have pulled a goal back: it’s now only 3-2 to Norwich, Odion Ighalo with the latest there.

49 min: A Khazri free kick from the right is eyebrowed across the face of goal by Barry and out for a corner on the left. Khazri takes that set piece too, and his corner finds the head of Kirchhoff, six yards out. Kirchhoff should score, but his weak header flashes wide right of goal. There’s no sense that this game will end 2-0. None whatsoever. Sunderland would take it now, of course, with both hands. It’ll still be a long 41 minutes plus stoppages.

47 min: Kaboul is penalised for nipping away at Lukaku’s heels as the pair contest a ball down the Everton inside-right channel. The resulting free kick is hooked towards the left-hand post, where Barry heads back for Pennington, who tries to steer a header into the top left. It’s not a bad effort, the young man battling in the middle of a packed box, but there’s not enough steam behind it, and Mannone plucks it from the sky.

To the dispassionate neutral, given the mental fragility of Everton right now, this relegation battle looks all over. But it’s never quite that simple, is it. “You said Sunderland are 45 competent minutes from survival,” begins Austin Baird, “but to all Sunderland fans that brings a wry smile to our lips. We all know: if anybody can screw this up it’ll be Sunderland. Been there, done that.” Fair point, well made. It’ll be a long 45 minutes, then, one way or another. Here we go! Sunderland get the ball rolling for the second half; Everton have replaced Barkley with Lennon.

Half-time reading: Oh Joel!

Related: The Joy of Six: Goalkeeping calamities | Scott Murray

And that’s that for the first half. Unless something very strange happens to both Sunderland and Everton in the second half, the Black Cats are staying up! It’s the worst possible news for Newcastle United and Norwich City, the latter now 3-1 up at home to Watford. Van Aanholt punches the air as he makes his way to the changing room; you can be sure Sam Allardyce will tell him that the job’s not yet done. But it is half done. Sunderland are 45 competent minutes from survival!

44 min: Passionate brilliance from Sunderland there. “Are you watching, Newcastle?” the crowd ask the supporters of Allardyce’s former club. Meanwhile, even by Everton’s recent standards, this is a lame capitulation.

Khazri’s free kick, high from the right, finds the head of Defoe, who flashes a header towards the top right. Robles goes some way to atoning for his horrendous error by fingertipping over the bar. But it’s all in vain. At the corner, there’s some head tennis. Baines looks to have cleared Everton’s lines, but the ball’s returned by M’Vila down the inside-left channel. Stones is deep, playing Kone onside, and the defender roofs a shot into the net from close range. Premier League survival is tangible now! The Stadium of Light is rocking!

40 min: Everton are suddenly rocking. Yedlin and Borini combine down the right, but the latter can’t find Defoe in the box with his low cross. A second phase of attack down the same flank sees Mirallas clatter Borini from behind. Free kick. From which…

Cattermole feeds Defoe down the middle. Defoe takes a touch, left to right, and is upended by Funes Mori. A free kick, 25 yards out, level with the right-hand post. Van Aanholt takes, and … this is absurd! Van Aanholt hits a fairly tame low free kick to the left of the wall. Robles jumps behind the wall, and lets the ball nestle into the left-hand side of the net! Appalling goalkeeping, but Sunderland won’t care! As things stand, they’re staying up, and they’re sending Newcastle United down with Norwich!

36 min: And again! This time it’s McCarthy looping a ball down the inside-right channel. Lukaku looks to have the power to burst past Kaboul, but Mannone comes out of his area again to clear. It’s a risky business, this.

34 min: Lukaku very nearly spins round Van Aanholt as the ball flies down the right wing. Fortunately for Sunderland, the full back sticks to his man like glue. Had he been given the slip, Lukaku would be running clear on goal. The crowd are beginning to get a little anxious, even though this sort of stuff is happening halfway up the pitch. Sunderland are taking risks with this high line.

33 min: Mirallas, having switched wings, embarks on a high-paced solo skitter down the left. He eventually runs out of room, but only after being swarmed by three red-and-white shirts. For a second, he threatened to break clear into a lot of space. Sunderland hearts were in mouths. But then, the nervous tension is such right now that it doesn’t take much.

31 min: Van Aanholt is down getting a little treatment on his knee, having been accidentally clattered in a 50-50 with Pennington. He’s limping a bit when he gets up, but in that manner which suggests everything will be OK.

29 min: Everton, having been quiet for a few minutes, have sprung back into life. Now Barkley makes himself a little time out on the left, cutting inside and curling a dangerous ball towards the far post. He’s expecting Lukaku to be making a powerful run, but the big man isn’t doing that. The ball squeaks out to the right of the goal, Mannone waving his arms in the nonchalant fashion, always in control, honest.

28 min: Cleverley, in the centre circle, scoops a pass down the middle that very nearly releases Mirallas clear on goal. The Everton winger is denied by Mannone, who scampers from his area and lashes the ball clear. A lovely pass, though.

26 min: A lot of aimless hoofing, representing something of a lull.

24 min: Kaboul, of all people, turns into Garrincha. He twists and turns down the left wing, then steps inside the Everton area and, faced with a tight angle, rips a high-paced curler across Robles and towards the top right. It flies inches wide, an excellent effort. The keeper was beaten all ends up. That would have been a beauty.

23 min: Sunderland are beginning to play Everton at their own game: they’ve turned around the possession stats, having enjoyed 60% of the ball in the last five minutes. Everton are beginning to sit very deep. “Sunderland may be nervous,” begins Lou Roper, “but what has Everton’s excuse been? Mr Martinez seems a pleasant and knowledgeable fellow but the performances of his team have been shambolic. With whom to replace him, though? Rafa Benitez: predicting a) Newcastle will go down and b) he won’t be keen on ‘the Championship’ (TM Lord Mawhinney).”

21 min: Van Aanholt has a bit of space down the left, but decides to blooter the ball into the stand behind the goal. In the dugout, Sam Allardyce slumps back in his seat, pleasure very much an alien concept right now.

20 min: It’s on a rolling boil at Carrow Road, though. Dieumerci Mbokani has made it 2-1 to Norwich! So safety is still a possibility as things stand. A few more twists and turns await us tonight, I’ll be bound.

19 min: Sunderland finally get something going up front. Borini has a snapshot from the edge of the D that’s closed down. Khazri tries to burst into the box down the left, but can’t get an effort away. Yedlin earns a corner on the right, from which Kaboul sends a fairly harmless header straight at Robles. It’s hotting up nicely.

17 min: It’s all happening, Danny Boon style, at Carrow Road, where Nathan Redmond has equalised for Norwich. They’re still going down, as they need a win, but this is where we all area. Meanwhile back on Wearside, Lukaku cuts in from the Everton right but can’t quite work space to shoot as he enters the box. Kaboul and Van Aanholt usher him away.

15 min: A bit of head tennis outside the Everton area. Something for the home fans to get excited about. It all comes to naught, and then Khazri slides in recklessly on Barry. He’s the second Sunderland player fortunate to escape a booking.

13 min: Troy Deeney has scored for Watford at Norwich, who are going down as things stand. Meanwhile at the Stadium of Light, Funes Mori plays a hospital pass back to his keeper. Robles does extremely well to hack clear under extreme pressure from the sliding Defoe. Funes Mori still in Liability Mode after his inexplicable Anfield meltdown, it would seem.

11 min: More Evertonian possession. They’ve had 70% of it so far. A lot of whistling as accompaniment. Sunderland can’t get out of their final third, with Everton stroking it around this way and that. But the home team are holding firm in the middle, and Everton can’t work an opening.

9 min: Barry, deep on the left, swings a diagonal ball into the box. The young defender Pennington, haring down the right wing and making it into the area, rises to guide a header towards the top left from 12 yards. It’s not a bad effort, if a touch high and wide. Not a million miles away, and for a nanosecond it caused Mannone to turn round and check the flight in concern. Had that been on target, it may well have beaten the keeper. It would have been some header, mind.

7 min: Borini, tight on the right, plays a lovely threaded ball inside for Defoe, who in turn attempts to release Van Aanholt down the left with a diagonal chip. Defoe doesn’t quite get his angles correct, and the chance to spring Everton’s back line on the left wing is gone. But that’s the first bit of proper football from Sunderland tonight.

6 min: Everton are enjoying quite a lot of the ball, but doing very little with it. Plus ça change, some Goodison regulars will sigh. Sunderland meanwhile are looking a little edgy. Early days for everyone.

4 min: Cattermole comes straight through the back of Barkley in the centre circle. He should be booked for that, but the referee is in lenient mood. The notoriously hot-headed Sunderland midfielder will need to simmer down.

3 min: Yedlin and Khazri attempt to combine down the right wing, but the ball’s never in anybody’s total control. Sunderland have yet to settle. They’re looking understandably hectic. Maybe it’s nerves.

2 min: Barkley, in the centre circle, plays a first-time pass down the inside-right channel with a view to releasing Mirallas on goal. The flag goes up for offside. It’s the correct decision, just, though Sunderland were playing a dangerous game with their high line: there really wasn’t much in that. Mirallas would have been clear on goal.

To the sound of a tumultuous roar, Everton get the ball rolling. The home fans belt out a cry of “We are staying up.” The visitors play the ball back towards their own box. Funes Mori attempts to thread a pass up the left wing for Cleverley, but knocks it out of play. Sunderland are pressing hard, in the modern style.

The teams are out! Sunderland in their famous red and white stripes, Everton wearing their equally storied blue. It’s a belting atmosphere at the Stadium of Light, as you’d expect for such a big game. We’ll be off in a minute!

Sam Allardyce speaks! “We hope to get it done tonight. It’s a huge game, we’ve put ourselves in a position after our tremendous comeback against Chelsea. But we won’t take anything for granted against anyone. We have a lot of good attacking players, we can attack with flair and cause problems, but our defending will have to be better than it was on Saturday. If we can expose their weaknesses, as we saw Leicester do at the weekend, we’ll get a chance to win. The players must hit their best form, the same level of performance as they did on Saturday. Everton are slightly wounded with the criticism they’ve received, so I think they’ll come out determined to show what they can do. We’ll have to be on top form to beat them tonight. I haven’t started thinking about survival. If I start doing that, you never know what’s going to turn your way. Let’s hope it’ll be a great night. Let’s do all we possibly can.”

Roberto Martinez speaks! “We always react well. We all know what Sunderland are playing for, but every point matters for the final position in the league table, and our approach matters. We have to start really well. The game will be played at a real tempo, with the home crowd playing a large part in their victory against Chelsea. Gareth Barry’s experience and know-how is important. Funes Mori gives us good balance at the back. It’s important to have fresh legs and fresh minds.” He doesn’t look particularly happy, the poor chap. A defeated look in the eyes. Tired. Running on fumes. It could be a big week at Goodison if these final two matches don’t go well.

A word on Norwich, who host Watford tonight. They need to beat the Hornets at Carrow Road this evening to have any chance of surviving. Not an impossible task, you’d have thought, seeing their mid-table opponents will already have dug the fluffiest beach towels out of the cupboard in giddy anticipation. However, City have failed to score in their last four games, losing the lot, so good luck with that. “Tonight is really important, we want to make sure we take it to the last day,” says Alex Neil. “Hopefully Everton can do us a turn, and get us a result as well.” Just to clarify: if Norwich fail to win, they’re down whatever Sunderland do tonight. If they’re to stay up, they’ll need to beat Everton on Sunday as well, while hoping Sunderland only gain a maximum of one point from Everton tonight and Watford on Sunday. (Let’s assume Norwich won’t make up a goal-difference deficit of ten.) A lot of Everton and Watford action in there, making for confusing reading. Thankfully you already know what’s going on, or I’d be in a whole world of trouble. Forget I brought the subject up.

Sunderland’s MO, then, well established through the years, is to faff around in the drop zone for the majority of the season before clambering out just before the day of reckoning. This week’s Knowledge reports on the yin to their yang: the clubs who manage to stay out of the relegation places all season, only to haplessly drop into them at the very last minute. Oops!

Related: Football teams relegated despite not being in the drop zone all season | The Knowledge

Chelsea might have been something of a shower this season, by their own lofty standards, but whichever way you spin it, they were the defending champions. And at the weekend, Sunderland came from behind, at a point when things began to look very dark indeed, to beat them rather gloriously. No changes to the team, then.

Everton definitely have shower-related issues right now, to the point where a fair old chunk of the support wants shot of Roberto Martinez. Two matches to save his job? Possibly. With a desperate battle in mind, the manager recalls Ramiro Funes Mori and Gareth Barry, who are back from suspension and injury respectively. The pair take the places of Bryan Oviedo and Aaron Lennon, who started the dismal defeat at the new champs Leicester City. Kevin Mirallas is also back in the starting XI, at the expense of the currently misfiring £13.5m striker Oumar Niasse.

Sunderland: Mannone, Yedlin, Kone, Kaboul, Van Aanholt, Kirchhoff, Borini, Cattermole, M’Vila, Khazri, Defoe.
Subs: Jones, Larsson, Rodwell, N’Doye, Pickford, O’Shea, Watmore.

Everton: Robles, Stones, Pennington, Funes Mori, Baines, McCarthy, Barry, Mirallas, Barkley, Cleverley, Lukaku.
Subs: Gibson, Oviedo, Lennon, Niasse, Besic, Osman, Howard.

It’s easy to forget just how much bother Sunderland were in. At the end of 2015, having been defeated five times in a row, the Black Cats were in a black funk. They were second from bottom in the Premier League table, just four points ahead of a risible Aston Villa, five shy of neighbours Newcastle United, and seven short of safety. This time, surely, they were for the off.

Ah, but give Sam Allardyce time to do his thing. The subsequent turnaround hasn’t been spectacular, but it has been steady. Allardyce has transformed Sunderland from serial losers into a team who are hard to beat. Since the start of February, when they were extremely unfortunate to lose at home to Manchester City, the Mackems have only tasted defeat twice. And one of those matches was against Leicester City, who have been the boss of absolutely everyone. It’s been an admirable sequence.

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Sunderland safe after Lamine Koné double sinks crumbling Everton

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If football is the industry of schadenfreude it can rarely feel any better for Sunderland given the implications of this win and what it means not only for themselves but the ramifications elsewhere. Their status as a Premier League club is preserved for another season and the jubilation was no doubt all the sweeter because of the malicious sense of pleasure from seeing Newcastle go down at their expense.

Related: Sunderland 3-0 Everton: Premier League – as it happened

Related: Norwich beat Watford but are relegated as Mbokani comes good at last

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Sunderland v Everton: Premier League – live!

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Sunderland’s MO, then, well established through the years, is to faff around in the drop zone for the majority of the season before clambering out just before the day of reckoning. This week’s Knowledge reports on the yin to their yang: the clubs who manage to stay out of the relegation places all season, only to haplessly drop into them at the very last minute. Oops!

Related: Football teams relegated despite not being in the drop zone all season | The Knowledge

Chelsea might have been something of a shower this season, by their own lofty standards, but whichever way you spin it, they were the defending champions. And at the weekend, Sunderland came from behind, at a point when things began to look very dark indeed, to beat them rather gloriously. No changes to the team, then.

Everton definitely have shower-related issues right now, to the point where a fair old chunk of the support wants shot of Roberto Martinez. Two matches to save his job? Possibly. With a desperate battle in mind, the manager recalls Ramiro Funes Mori and Gareth Barry, who are back from suspension and injury respectively. The pair take the places of Bryan Oviedo and Aaron Lennon, who started the dismal defeat at the new champs Leicester City. Kevin Mirallas is also back in the starting XI, at the expense of the currently misfiring £13.5m striker Oumar Niasse.

Sunderland: Mannone, Yedlin, Kone, Kaboul, Van Aanholt, Kirchhoff, Borini, Cattermole, M’Vila, Khazri, Defoe.
Subs: Jones, Larsson, Rodwell, N’Doye, Pickford, O’Shea, Watmore.

Everton: Robles, Stones, Pennington, Funes Mori, Baines, McCarthy, Barry, Mirallas, Barkley, Cleverley, Lukaku.
Subs: Gibson, Oviedo, Lennon, Niasse, Besic, Osman, Howard.

It’s easy to forget just how much bother Sunderland were in. At the end of 2015, having been defeated five times in a row, the Black Cats were in a black funk. They were second from bottom in the Premier League table, just four points ahead of a risible Aston Villa, five shy of neighbours Newcastle United, and seven short of safety. This time, surely, they were for the off.

Ah, but give Sam Allardyce time to do his thing. The subsequent turnaround hasn’t been spectacular, but it has been steady. Allardyce has transformed Sunderland from serial losers into a team who are hard to beat. Since the start of February, when they were extremely unfortunate to lose at home to Manchester City, the Mackems have only tasted defeat twice. And one of those matches was against Leicester City, who have been the boss of absolutely everyone. It’s been an admirable sequence.

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Roberto Martínez denies it is inevitable he will be sacked as Everton manager

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• Final away match of the season at Sunderland ‘is only thing that matters to me’
• ‘Everything you can question me about after final game against Norwich’

Roberto Martínez has denied it is inevitable he will be sacked as Everton manager in the coming days or that his position has been weakened by a lack of commitment from the team.

Everton travel to Sunderland for their final away game of the season on Wednesday with Martínez appearing on the brink of losing his job after three seasons. Calls for a change have increased among supporters in recent weeks and a feeble display at the newly crowned champions Leicester City on Saturday did not help his claims that he retains the backing of the players. Martínez uncharacteristically turned on his team after the 3-1 defeat at the King Power Stadium, accusing all but the inexperienced Matthew Pennington of lacking intensity and effort.

Related: Roberto Martínez: Everton won’t roll over at Sunderland

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Sam Allardyce calls on Sunderland to secure survival against Everton

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• Victory against Everton will guarantee safety with a game to go
• Allardyce desperate to avoid final-day drama at Watford

Some Sunderland supporters are already planning post-match parties on Wednesday night but Sam Allardyce has cautioned that his players may not find beating Everton quite as straightforward as advertised.

Victory against Roberto Martínez’s faltering yet still gifted side at the Stadium of Light would relegate Newcastle United and Norwich City while sealing the Wearside club’s Premier League safety.

Related: Sam Allardyce urges England to consider Jermain Defoe for Euro 2016

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