Sunderland continued their sensational form by beating Manchester United 1-0 to relegate Fulham and Cardiff City from the Premier League.
A draw at Manchester City and a win over Chelsea preceded last weekend's vital 4-0 triumph for Sunderland against Cardiff and Gus Poyet's men made it 10 points from the last 12 on offer thanks to Sebastian Larsson's first-half volley.
Defeats to Stoke City and Newcastle United respectively meant Fulham and Cardiff's fates were sealed, while Emanuele Giaccherini and Fabio Borini both hit the United woodwork in the closing stages.
Sunderland now hold a three-point lead over third-bottom Norwich City - who take on Chelsea on Sunday in their penultimate game - and a vastly superior goal difference.
Following a vibrant 4-0 win over Norwich last Sunday, interim United manager Ryan Giggs crashed back down to earth as a lacklustre display that allowed the visitors to claim a first league win at Old Trafford since May 1968.
A combination of illness and a minor groin injury kept Wayne Rooney on the sidelines - the only enforced change of five made by Giggs to his starting XI.
Former United defender John O'Shea almost turned Michael Carrick's 16th-minute cross into his own goal, while Nani fizzed over and Patrice Evra headed a 20th-minute corner into Vito Mannone's arms - though clear-cut chances were at a premium.
However, United's early lethargy remained and the travelling supporters were able to enliven a pensive Old Trafford atmosphere when Sunderland took a 30th-minute lead.
Darren Fletcher allowed in-form striker Connor Wickham to send over a cross from the right and Larsson sent a controlled volley into the bottom-left corner.
Sunderland winger Adam Johnson twice failed to capitalise on poor clearances from goalkeeper David de Gea as United staggered towards the interval in disarray.
United's pedestrian tempo continued after the break but Johnson switched off to allow the overlapping Evra into the box and his 50th-minute centre was superbly cleared behind by Wes Brown with Javier Hernandez poised to convert.
Nemanja Vidic headed wide when the resulting corner was worked back into the area and Sunderland suddenly found themselves defending perilously deep.
Activity in front of the away team's goal became somewhat frantic and Carrick and Vidic were both unable to force headers home when Phil Jones chipped towards the back post.
Sunderland almost made the points safe on an increasingly rare foray forward after 71 minutes - substitute Giaccherini hitting the post before Jack Colback crashed the rebound into the side netting.
By that stage, Giggs had also called for considerable reinforcements in the form of Adnan Januzaj, Danny Welbeck and Robin van Persie and the latter almost enjoyed a dream return from his knee injury but prodded wide from Jones' delivery.
Fellow striker Hernandez skied over from Evra's 81st minute cutback before Borini came agonisingly close to compounding United's misery, striking the woodwork with De Gea rooted to the spot.
Reports this week suggested Van Persie's countryman Louis van Gaal is the front-runner to become David Moyes' permanent successor at Old Trafford and he may have a major overhaul on his hands on this evidence.
|Coach: R. Giggs|
for Nani 52'
for Mata 66'
for A. Young 67'
|Bournemouth beaten by battling Cardiff|
|Immobile injury overshadows Sevilla win at Vicarage Road|
|Lambert at the double on West Brom bow|
|Real sign up Spain starlet Vallejo|
|Valencia blow for West Ham|
|Elche cleared to play in Segunda Division|
|Baker pens a new Villa deal|
|Lambert makes Albion switch|
|Gillingham and Scally found guilty of ´race victimisation´|
|Inter complete Jovetic signing|
|Arsenal v Chelsea: Mourinho cools Wenger rivalry ahead of Wembley meeting|
|Villa snap up Gestede|
|Villa land Veretout|
|Mourinho coy on fresh Stones bid|
|Aubameyang commits to Dortmund|
|Torres on the hunt for trophies with Atletico|
|Cazorla and Walcott sign new Arsenal deals|
|Quick start vital in Arsenal title bid - Wilshere|
|I have received no offers - Guardiola|
|Barcelona to monitor Turan injury|
|Zorc ´surprised´ by Grosskreutz-Tuchel row|
|Phil Neville could be England manager - Moyes|
|UEFA to investigate Shakhtar´s Fred selection|
|City loan Unal to Genk|
|China v South Korea: Stielike looking for new options|
|North Korea v Japan: Halilhodzic to unearth new faces|
|Drogba: I want to be ready, not a burden|
|Hamstrung Clasie in doubt for Southampton league opener|
|West Ham goalscorer Zarate bemoans Astra comeback|
|Negredo quashes Valencia exit rumours|
|´This is not my Sampdoria´ - president Ferrero|
|Criscito could join Inter - agent|
|CBF endorse Zico´s FIFA presidency campaign|
|Hawit to handle CONCACAF´s referee review|
|Falcao is a ´top, top player´ - Terry|
|Tuchel pleased by Dortmund fighting qualities|
|Premier League rules out schedule changes for Champions League clubs|
|UEFA Europa League Review: Southampton stroll as Sampdoria are humiliated|
|Koeman confident of Southampton progress|
|Bilic frustrated with Collins´ red card, Valencia injury|
|Bamford hits hat-trick in Bromley friendly|
|Southampton 3 Vitesse 0: Play-offs in sight for Koeman’s men|
|Wolfsberger 0 Borussia Dortmund 1: Tuchel begins tenure with narrow win|
|West Ham 2 Astra 2: Collins red allows visitors back in|
|Kukesi - Legia match abandoned|
|Joining Roma an ´easy decision´ - Szczesny|
|Chiriches joins Napoli from Spurs|
|Mihajlovic pleased with Milan improvements|
|Injured Chiellini to miss Supercoppa|
|Newcastle complete Mbemba swoop|
|Blackpool protest incurs FA fine|
|Scottish Premiership Preview: Dons seek to run Celtic closer|
|Paris Saint-Germain v Lyon: Ibrahimovic ready for season opener|
|Wolfsburg v Bayern Munich: De Bruyne centre of attention|
|Real Madrid 0 Milan 0 (10-9 on pens): Real lift second International Champions Cup|
|De Bruyne a doubt for Supercup clash|
|Reine-Adelaide needs time to blossom, says Walcott|
|Rodgers will not rush Ibe development|
|Napoli not interested in selling Higuain - De Laurentiis|
|Wilson agrees Bournemouth extension|
|Messi makes early Barcelona return|
|Ibrahimovic: My next move will be a very big surprise|
|Van Aanholt backs Lens to shine|
|Besiktas complete loan move for Gomez|
|McClaren: No decision on Coloccini future|
|Kane, Kaka hail goalkeeper Rimando|
|Chung eager to become FIFA president|
|Yedlin open to loan move|
|Tigres not scared of River trip - Ferretti|
|MLS Preview: Wright-Phillips, Lampard set to debut|
|´A draw is good for us´ - River´s Gallardo confident of Libertadores success|
|Di Maria poised for PSG switch - Blanc|
|Franjic: Bring on Bangladesh, Tajikistan|
|Van Gaal bemoans De Gea situation|
|MLS All-Stars 2 Tottenham 1: Kane stunner can´t spare Spurs|
|Manchester United 0 Paris Saint-Germain 2: Van Gaal´s defensive frailties exposed|
|Tigres UANL 0 River Plate 0: Visitors lose Gallardo in Copa Libertadores final first leg|
|Penedo parts ways with Galaxy|
|Benitez backs Mihajlovic, Milan to succeed|
|Barnetta joins Union in MLS|
|Allegri critical of Morata´s attitude|
|Franjic targets more A-League glory with City|
|Beto undaunted by Super Cup clash against Barca|
|Advocaat upbeat despite another Sunderland flop|
|McClaren praises Newcastle recruit Mitrovic|
|Payet will improve West Ham - Bilic|
|Pulis confirms interest in Lambert|
|Deila expects tough test in Baku|
|Drogba mobbed by Montreal Impact fans|