LONDON — Burnley and Queens Park Rangers’ Premier League survival hopes were left hanging by a thread after defeats and unfavourable results elsewhere left them rooted to the foot of the table on Saturday.
At the other end of the table Manchester United suffered a 1-0 home defeat by West Bromwich Albion, their third successive loss, and missed the opportunity to move into second place.
Robin van Persie had a second-half penalty saved by keeper Boaz Myhill who proved inspirational all afternoon.
West Brom scored in the 63rd minute when a free kick from Chris Brunt took a big deflection off team-mate Jonas Olsson. Mark Noble’s first-half spot kick was enough to condemn Burnley, who had Michael Duff sent off following the award of the penalty, to a 19th league defeat this season as they went down 1-0 at West Ham United.
Sean Dyche’s rock bottom side, who are eight points adrift of safety, need to win their remaining three games to have any chance of avoiding the drop.
“You can’t guarantee you win with 11 versus 11 but it gives you a better chance,” Dyche told Sky Sports. “The way the team operate they will give everything and we will continue to do that.”
Second from bottom QPR, one point ahead of Burnley, also face an almost impossible task to preserve their top-flight status after losing 2-1 at Liverpool through goals by Philippe Coutinho and Steven Gerrard.
Resurgent Leicester City recorded their fifth win in six league matches thanks to Leonardo Ulloa’s double in a 3-0 victory against free-falling Newcastle United.
Sunderland, third from bottom and with a game in hand, are one point behind Leicester after a much-needed 2-1 win over Southampton that arrived courtesy of two penalties from Jordi Gomez.
In-form Christian Benteke netted twice and Tom Cleverley also struck as Aston Villa beat Everton 3-2 while Swansea City continued their fine season with a 2-0 victory over fellow mid-table side Stoke City.
Burnley have won many plaudits with their effort and application this season but a measly return of 26 goals, the lowest in the top flight, has underlined their campaign.
The visitors laid siege to West Ham’s goal in the closing stages and were found wanting in attack.
QPR were desperately close to claiming a credible point but Gerrard, playing his penultimate game at Anfield, headed the winner past keeper Rob Green in the 87th minute after Leroy Fer had equalised Coutinho’s early goal.
“We’ve let another point slip,” said QPR manager Chris Ramsey. “We’ve been poor at maintaining our concentration in the last few minutes in quite a few games. “The boys are so deflated and disappointed. We know we have a massive task in the next three games but we’ll be up for it.”
With Burnley and QPR all but relegated the battle to avoid the last remaining relegation spot intensified and Villa, Newcastle, Hull City, Leicester and Sunderland are now separated by just two points.
Leicester’s victory over Newcastle, who have lost eight successive matches, showed they were full of confidence.
Ulloa headed home inside the first minute and, after Wes Morgan doubled the lead in the 17th, the striker fired home emphatically from the penalty spot following Emmanuel Riviere’s foul on Marcin Wasilewski in the 48th.
Newcastle finished with nine men after Mike Williamson was sent off just after the hour and fellow defender Daryl Janmaat was dismissed in added time.
Sunderland’s victory over stuttering Southampton was only their second since Dutch coach Dick Advocaat took over in March.
Saturday Premier League Results
Man Utd 0 West Brom 1
Aston Villa 3 Everton 2
Liverpool 2 QPR 1
West Ham 1 Burnley 0
Swansea 2 Stoke 0
Sunderland 2 Southampton 1
Leicester 3 Newcastle 0