Norwich hosted Sunderland at Carrow Road in a Premier League game that had the person who coined the phrase 'relegation six-pointer' reclining in smug satisfaction at the continued validation of his/her career.
Sam Allardyce has never been relegated from the Premier League, and his team's 3-0 victory against Norwich today nudges that fact closer to safety for another year. It was an absolutely crucial victory for the Black Cats, triumphing in a frantic game through a Fabio Borini penalty and a Jermain Defoe goal.
The tone of the game was set in the opening three minutes, as Robbie Brady's heavy challenge on DeAndre Yedlin sparked a Sam Allardyce-led scrap on the touchline. The manic nature of the game seemed to get to Norwich, with one of the few players capable of keeping their head while all around were losing theirs - Wes Hoolahan - left on the bench by Alex Neil. The Irishman was only introduced on the hour mark with his side 2-0 down, and failed to turn it around. Norwich fans were deeply unimpressed by the omission of Hoolahan:
Wes Hoolahan on for Norwich should start for them so much energy has so much quality dictates play so well.
— Josh Bunting (@Buntingfootball) April 16, 2016
How does Wes Hoolahan not start on a poor Norwich team
— Barry Canning (@bajcanning) April 16, 2016
Bassong blunder - Defoe was on side. Only Wes Hoolahan can save us now - get him on quickly. #ncfc
— Roger Farrant (@roger_farrant) April 16, 2016
Sunderland's victory leaves them a point behind Norwich wth a game in hand. A fantastic result for John O'Shea and Sunderland. A difficult few weeks ahead for Hoolahan and Robbie Brady.