Loss to Man Utd seals fate of Sunderland manager O'Neill
MARTIN O'Neill was sacked as Sunderland manager just hours after his side's 1-0 home defeat by runaway leader Manchester United moved it even closer to the relegation trapdoor.
The defeat, the result of a Titus Bramble own goal in the first half, left Sunderland just one point above the relegation zone and without a win in eight Premier League games.
The Irishman, who was in charge for 15 months, is the fifth Premier League manager to lose his job this season following the sackings of Roberto Di Matteo at Chelsea, Mark Hughes at Queens Park Rangers, Nigel Adkins from Southampton and Reading's Brian McDermott.
Ironically, Hughes, Di Matteo, and former England manager Steve McClaren, are front runners to replace O'Neill.
Elsewhere, second-placed Manchester City cut the Red Devils lead to 15 points after beating Newcastle 4-0.
The result leaves City, the defending champion, with a five-point lead over third-placed Tottenham after the Londoners won 2-1 at Swansea.
Chelsea's top-four hopes were dealt a major blow after a 2-1 loss at Southampton. Mauricio Pochettino's men have now beaten Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea at St Mary's this season.
Nigel Adkins' bid to keep Reading in the Premier League started with a 4-1 loss at Arsenal, Andy Carroll scored twice in West Ham's 3-1 win against West Bromwich Albion, while Wigan moved out of the bottom three after beating Norwich 1-0 thanks to Arouna Kone's late winner.
Kevin Mirallas kept Everton's hopes of playing in the Champions League alive by scoring the only goal of the game against Stoke at Goodison Park.