By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) – Newcastle United put more daylight between themselves and the Premier League’s relegation places but Cardiff City remained stuck in the mire and Brighton and Hove Albion’s slump continued on a busy night at the bottom on Tuesday.
Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle side claimed a fourth successive home win as they beat Burnley 2-0 — a result which ended the visitors’ eight-match unbeaten streak in the league.
Fabian Schar and Sean Longstaff both scored before halftime as Newcastle moved up to 13th, seven points above the drop zone.
“We still have to keep winning games and do what we are doing already, continue to do the same great performance like today with great team spirit,” Benitez said.
Gylfi Sigurdsson became the highest-scoring Icelandic player in Premier League history with two goals in Everton’s 3-0 win at Cardiff who have conceded eight times in two home games.
Sigurdsson began the night level on 55 goals with former Chelsea player Eidur Gudjohnsen but moved ahead on his own with two clinical strikes to deflate the struggling Welsh side.
While Everton’s win, after three consecutive losses, lifted them to ninth, Cardiff remain one point and one place above the bottom three and will drop below the dreaded line if 18th-placed Southampton avoid defeat at home to Fulham on Wednesday.
Leicester City’s newly-appointed manager Brendan Rodgers was at the King Power Stadium, hours after being confirmed as Claude Puel’s successor, and he would have been impressed with his side’s first-half display in a 2-1 win over Brighton.
Demarai Gray put the hosts ahead and Jamie Vardy made it 2-0 after the break but Brighton hit back through Davy Propper.
Glenn Murray blazed over a glorious chance to equalise for Brighton when the score was 1-0 and manager Chris Hughton admitted his side are in a sticky patch.
“We weren’t going to go through the season without having a difficult period and it’s still in our hands,” he said.
“We have a good opportunity at home to Huddersfield on Saturday to start picking up points.”
Leicester, who were under the command of Mike Stowell and Adam Sadler on Tuesday, had picked up only one point from the previous 18 available — a run that ended Puel’s tenure.
“I spoke to them about the incoming manager and just said we had to concentrate on the game,” Stowell, who will hand over the reins to Rodgers on Wednesday, said.
“We’ve got a great environment here with good staff and good owners so it’ll be a good place for Brendan.”
While Leicester look safe in 11th spot, Chris Hughton’s Brighton side are only three points above Southampton after a run of seven league games without a victory.
Huddersfield Town are almost certainly doomed to relegation but they finally had something to smile about as they beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 to end a 14-game winless run.
Steve Mounie’s stoppage-time goal earned Jan Siewert his first victory as manager and sparked joyous scenes.
“You can’t believe how much they suffered when they are not winning,” Siewert, whose side are still 11 points behind 17th-placed Cardiff, said. “They deserved everything from the game. They left their hearts on the pitch.
“I will have one beer tonight — maybe two. But we have a game on Saturday and there is still something possible.”
The focus shifts to the title race on Wednesday when leaders Liverpool host Watford and in-form Manchester City, who are one point behind, host West Ham United.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)