Christian Benteke scored a hat-trick as Aston Villa thrashed Sunderland 6-1 on Monday to give themselves real hope of avoiding relegation from the English Premier League.
Victory saw Villa pull five points clear of the relegation zone with three games left to play.
FA Cup finalists Wigan, who have a game in hand over the Birmingham club, are now in greatest danger of joining already demoted Queens Park Rangers and Reading as one of the three clubs relegated from England's top flight.
Defeat halted Sunderland's revival under Italian manager Paolo di Canio and this loss was compounded by the sending-off of Stephane Sessegnon.
It left the Black Cats as one of three clubs on 37 points and completed a miserable round of matches for the north-east after Sunderland's arch-rivals Newcastle were hammered 6-0 at home to Liverpool on Saturday.