Bournemouth climbed further away from trouble, but forced Middlesbrough further down into the mire after the Cherries ran riot with a 4-0 victory at the Vitality Stadium.
Eleven points separated the teams ahead of this weekend’s clash, and the gulf in quality was stark – Boro having the air of a team with absolutely zero hope towards the end of a torrid 90 minutes.
Eddie Howe’s men were hoping to avoid a third straight league defeat, but there were no fears of that as they dominated from kick-off to final whistle.
In fact, it only took one minute and 36 seconds for the first goal to go in – in-form Josh King finishing from close-range after Marc Pugh’s driving run and ball into the box.
Benik Afobe made it 2-0 on 16 minutes as Boro’s hopes of a critical three points began to slide away, and they went out the window entirely when Gaston Ramirez was sent off for a reckless second booking just five minutes later.
If Boro found it hard going with 11 men, they were hopeless with ten. Pugh marked his 250th league appearance for Bournemouth with the third goal on 65 minutes, and the three points were well and truly wrapped up when Charlie Daniels scampered around a number of lazy challenges and neatly rifled home.
The result means lowly Boro are now 16 games without victory – the top flight’s only team without a win in 2017. They remain six points from safety with five games remaining, and seemingly creeping ever closer to Championship football.
Bournemouth are up to 12th.
Hull’s remarkable turnaround under new boss Marco Silva continued as the ten-man Tigers claimed a plucky home win over Watford to boost their survival hopes.
It was a tough first-half for the hosts, who saw Oumar Niasse shown a controversial red card which shouldn’t have even been worth a yellow, while they also had a decent penalty appeal turned down by referee Bobby Madley.
But they rallied after the break and took a surprise lead when on-loan Liverpool winger Lazar Markovic finished at the second attempt after his headed effort rattled the crossbar.
Midfielder Sam Clucas then sealed the three points with a stunning long-range goal, beating Heurelho Gomes with a thumping 30-yard strike to ensure Hull stay two points above the bottom-three.
Hull’s relegation rivals Swansea also boosted their hopes with a crucial three points against Stoke – the Welsh side ending a six-match winless run.
Fernando Llorente’s early header gave the hosts a precious lead, but fans were on the edge of the seats in a tense second-half.
Stoke wasted a chance to get back into the game as Marko Arnautovic blasted a penalty high over the bar, and his blunder proved costly, as former Tottenham man Tom Carroll doubled the Swans’ lead shortly after with a long-range shot which was deflected past returning goalkeeper Jack Butland.
Hull’s win meant Swansea remain in the bottom-three, although the Swans now sit just two points behind the Tigers.
Everton missed the chance to move into the top five as they played out an uninspiring goalless stalemate at the London Stadium.
There was very little action to speak of, with Everton taking 70 minutes to register their first shot – although they failed to land one on target in the whole game.
Romelu Lukaku, the Premier League top scorer, was kept quiet by the Hammers’ excellent three-man defence, with his only effort coming from a blocked shot.
Slaven Bilic will no doubt be the happier of the two managers, as the point edges his side closer to Premier League safety on 38 points, seven clear of Swansea in 18th with four games left to play.
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