Premier League Preview – Stoke City
After all the excitement at Selhurst Park last weekend, the Eagles can breath a little easier as they travel to take on relegation threatened Stoke City.
The television cameras have decided to pitch up at the bet365 stadium for this one making it an early kick off, perhaps expecting a relegation six pointer. Thankfully, while not mathematically safe, Palace seem to have done just enough to retain their Premier League status for another season.
The same cannot be said of Stoke however, as maximum points from their final two games of the season are a must for them to be in with a chance of survival. Even that may not be enough for the Potters who replaced Mark Hughes with Paul Lambert at the beginning of the year.
While the remaining two games of the season are of huge importance to the hosts, similar could be said for Palace’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christian Benteke.
The Chelsea loanee played a major role in the demolition of Leicester City last weekend and looks to have returned to the kind of form that earned him an England call up earlier in the season. With Gareth Southgate watching on at Selhurst, good performances against Stoke and West Bromwich Albion could well earn him a trip to Russia this summer.
As for Benteke, being out of the Belgium fold will have hurt him, as will his lack of form but the emotional handing of penalty taking duties to him last weekend got him on the score-sheet for just the third time this season. He needs goals and it will be interesting to see if boss Roy Hodgson chooses to start him in the final two matches.
TEAM NEWS (courtesy of Physio Room)
CRYSTAL PALACE – Connor Wickham (groin), Bakary Sako (ankle), Scott Dann (knee) and Jason Puncheon (knee) will all continue to miss out.
STOKE CITY – Glen Johnson (groin) is a slight doubt while Konstatinos Stafylidis (rib), Bruno Martins Indi (groin) and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (groin) are not expected to feature.
The last time the two sides met at the bet365 stadium, the hosts took all three points courtesy of Welsh midfielder Joe Allen midway through the second half in what was a tightly fought contest.
Who Scored man of the match – Bruno Martins Indi (7.6)
Last FIVE meetings between the two sides;
- 25/11/2017 Crystal Palace 2-1 Stoke City
- 11/02/2017 Stoke City 0-1 Crystal Palace
- 18/09/2016 Crystal Palace 4-1 Stoke City
- 07/05/2016 Crystal Palace 2-1 Stoke City
- 30/01/2016 Crystal Palace 1-0 Stoke City
Last FIVE results for Palace;
- 28/04/2018 Crystal Palace 5-0 Leicester City
- 22/04/2018 Watford 0-0 Crystal Palace
- 16/04/2018 Crystal Palace 3-2 Brighton & Hove Albion
- 07/04/2018 Bournemouth 2-2 Crystal Palace
- 01/04/2018 Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool
Last FIVE results for Stoke;
- 28/04/2018 Liverpool 0-0 Stoke City
- 22/04/2018 Stoke City 1-1 Burnley
- 16/04/2018 West Ham United 1-1 Stoke City
- 07/04/2018 Stoke City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
- 01/04/2018 Arsenal 3-0 Stoke City
FORM PLAYERS (courtesy of Who Scored)
Top two rated players from each team so far this season;
- Wilfried Zaha 7.37
- James Tomkins 7.31
- Kurt Zouma 7.12
- Ryan Shawcross 7.11
ONE TO WATCH
Former clubs – SV Augst, FC Basel, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan
Yugoslavia born Shaqiri emigrated to Switzerland with his family in 1992 and is a multi-national – Swiss, Kosovo and Albanian. His career began with SV Augst before joining FC Basel in 2001. After making his way through the youth set up, Shaqiri made his name at the Swiss club following a professional debut in 2007. A big move to Bayern Munich came in 2012 which did not work out quite how he had hoped, similarly when he signed for Inter Milan in 2015. Stoke came calling later that same year and agreed to pay a fee of £12million for his services. The exciting winger has almost seventy international caps for his adopted nation, Switzerland following several appearances at youth level.
Final league position – 19th
It is difficult to see how Stoke will get themselves of the mess they now find themselves in. Replacing Mark Hughes with Paul Lambert has not had the effect that was initially hoped and with two games left to play, it has to be two wins to stand any chance of survival. With Southampton getting an all important result last week, a lot will depend on how they perform until the end of the season but it could well be curtains for the Potters and their stay in the top division.
- TEB prediction – draw
- Wizards Of Drivel prediction (see link below) – home win
- Who Scored prediction -away win
BETTING ODDS (courtesy of Paddy Power)
- Home – 6/4
- Draw – 23/10
- Away – 7/4
- Both teams to score – 8/11