Watford, Palace move into European contention with wins
Crystal Palace 1, Southampton 0
Crystal Palace climbed to sixth place in the Premier League with a comfortable 1-0 defeat of Southampton.
In the latest demonstration that European football is not beyond them, they outplayed their similarly-ambitious rivals and secured victory with a goal from Yohan Cabaye, their Â£10million record signing.
Injuries forced manager Ronald Koeman to make further changes to his already out-of-form Southampton side. A toe injury suffered on Thursday by goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg led to a rare start for Paulo Gazzaniga, while owing to what Koeman described as "knee problems", Graziano Pelle was named as a substitute, with Shane Long starting in his place.
Sunderland 0, Watford 1
Odion Ighalo’s 10th goal of the season handed promoted Watford a third successive Barclays Premier League victory and plunged Sunderland deeper into relegation trouble.
The Nigerian’s fourth-minute strike proved enough to clinch all the points in a 1-0 win at a wintry Stadium of Light as the visitors launched an early blitz and then defended their lead with little difficulty to claim their seventh top-flight win of the campaign.
Sam Allardyce’s men at least made a game of it after a dreadful start with substitute Jermain Defoe seeing a strike correctly ruled out for offside and forcing a fine late save from goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, but the visitors were the better side and were worthy winners.
West Ham 0, Stoke City 0
Injury-hit West Ham could not find a way past stubborn Stoke in a goalless draw at Upton Park.
The Hammers dominated for long periods but sorely missed the attacking talents of Dimitri Payet, Diafra Sakho, Manuel Lanzini and Victor Moses in front of goal.
Boss Slaven Bilic, who has ordered the club to move training grounds in a bid to halt their injury jinx, almost saw his patched-up side pick up a first win in six matches, but Mauro Zarate’s shot cannoned back off the post.
A draw was probably a fair result, though, as Stoke were also denied by the woodwork when Marko Arnautovic hit the crossbar midway through the second half.