What is there left to say? Aston Villa went to Sunderland needing three points to even stay in touch with the team in 19th place. They left with a 3-1 loss and so obviously doomed to relegation that it might be kinder just to end the season now.
Rémi Garde tinkered with the line-up with an attacking band of Carles Gil, Jack Grealish and Leandro Bacuna supporting Rudy Gestede, while Idrissa Gana and Jordan Veretout sat in front of the defence where Aly Cissokho made his return to left-back. For a while it all seemed positive, Bacuna driving the midfield forward with a couple of early shots and some tidy possession play. Cissokho was a solid addition to the defence and things were looking up.
However as now seems inevitable, Villa collapsed to a cheap goal. Patrick Van Aanholt was allowed to run too far up the pitch and got a shot off beyond Alan Hutton. Micah Richards lunged in typical fashion towards the ball and deflected it behind Brad Guzan. Villa trudged in at half-time dispirited as ever.
There were no half-time changes but the introduction of Adama Traoré in the 57th minute for the clearly out of form Jack Grealish changed things as he started taking on men for fun.
Then the incredible happened. Please go and watch it now because it deserves to stand unsullied by this match - The miracle.
Adama blew his way past three defenders in a whirlwind of pace and hooked a ball to the far post. It was a poor cross, sailing way over Gestede's head to Carles Gil who up until that point had been ineffectual. It was over his head and a little behind him. He had to race out to his left before launching himself into the air for a volleyed left foot shot that arced like a missile into the Sunderland goal. A moment of stunning brilliance.
For a team with spirit, or confidence or an ounce of fight that would have been the signal to dig deep for victory, but this is a side lacking any of those qualities.
Ten minutes later Jermain Defoe picked the ball up on the edge of the box, forced Joleon Lescott back a few steps with an intimidating glare and then somehow managed to squeeze a shot past Guzan at his near post, a goal that a Premier League goalkeeper should never have allowed.
From that moment on Villa looked doomed. Libor Kozak made an appearance for the injured Alan Hutton but he and Gestede were far too similar to trouble a Sunderland defence that loves an aerial battle. Adama Traoré looked bright but was doubled up on up to the point he injured himself, allowing Scott Sinclair to come on and be ineffectual while the commentators repeatedly noted how he was Villa's "top scorer" (but not how many of those goals were in the League Cup).
A 2-1 loss at that point would've been depressing enough but this Villa side drives beyond depressing into the arena of comi-tragic.
After allowing Sunderland to win a cheap throw-in by the corner flag, the Villa defence somehow contrived to let Sunderland walk the ball across the box for Defoe to slam home. It was a goal that a pub team would've been embarassed to concede, never mind a Premier League team battling for survival. Sunderland celebrated wildly at the final whistle. Villa walked off knowing they're relegated five months before the end of the season.