SPORTS

EPL review week 37: Stoke go down; WBA, Swansea and Southampton still alive

TAGs: English Premier League, Stoke City, West Brom

Week 37 of the Premier League sees Stoke become the first Premier League team to fall into the Championship, while West Brom, Swansea and Southampton remain in the hunt with one weekend of action to go. 

Stoke 1 v 2 Crystal Palace 

EPL Review Week 37: Stoke go down; WBA, Swansea and Southampton still aliveThe Coates family may well be amongst the richest in the UK, but they made a poor decision when they sacked Mark Hughes in January. The Welshman may not have been the future of the club. Sparky’s spark may have dampened. But the timing was horrendous.

Paul Lambert came into the club, and as the Scot said on a day that saw their 10-year relationship with the Premier League end, “it’s difficult to come in mid-January.”

At that time, Stoke was like an elevator that had stopped working. Lambert’s arrival saw it kick into life again with a victory over Huddersfield, but after those three points, everything went south in a hurry.

Stoke only picked up seven points in 13 games.

You don’t survive in the Premier League with form like that.

Crystal Palace appointed Roy Hodgson in September giving the former England boss five months more to turn things around. In contrast, in the past 13 games, Palace have not lost against any of the sides in the bottom half of the table.

Stoke needed at least a point to remain in the relegation battle until the last day of the season, and Xherdan Shaqiri’s free-kick gave them the lead just before half time. But to Stoke, a winning position is like a woman smothered in coconut oil. Second half goals from James McArthur and Patrick van Aanholt put an end to Stoke’s ten-year experience at the top.

“No one can point a finger at the effort of the players,” said Lambert proving they just weren’t good enough.

So what next for Stoke?

Star players like Shaqiri, Jack Butland and Joe Allen will leave. The Championship ever-presents will bite chunks out of them. They could easily become the next Sunderland.

Palace is mathematically safe, but we haven’t worried about the Eagles for a long time. Hodgson may not be the long-term future of Crystal Palace, but he came in and did what was asked of him.

The Best of the Rest 

On the day that Cardiff earned promotion to the Premier League, Swansea fell into the bottom three with two games to spare. Ryan Fraser’s 37th-minute free kick ensured Bournemouth would be competing in the Premier League next season. Carlos Carvahal’s team faces a crucial home tie against Southampton on Tuesday night followed by a home tie against relegated Stoke on the last day of the season.

“I’m not worried,” said Carlos Carvahal who has seen his team beat both Arsenal and Liverpool at the Liberty Stadium.

I am not sure the fans share his sentiment.

Southampton climbs out of the bottom three on goal difference after taking a point at Goodison Park, but once again surrendered a winning position in the most heart-wrenching of circumstances.

Southampton took the lead in the 56th minute through Nathan Redmond but had to handle the final Evertonian assault with only ten men after Maya Yoshida watched the ending from the dressing room after two yellow cards. The Saints couldn’t cope, and Tom Davies finally breached the backline with an equaliser in the 96th minute.

The lost two points will likely be a mute point given the fact that the winner of Tuesday’s tie between Swansea and Southampton will end up securing Premier League status, but Mark Hughes and his side could have done with the shot in the arm.

If Paul Lambert is right that Stoke’s players couldn’t have given more effort to the team, what will the club owners think of the West Brom players?

After going through the season with only two wins, West Brom, under the makeshift tutelage of Darren Moore, are unbeaten in five, booking wins against Newcastle, Man Utd and now Spurs, thanks to the last minute goal from Jake Livermore that saved them from relegation for one more match.

But it’s all too little too late.

The Baggies would have to hammer Crystal Palace in the final game of the season and hope that Swansea draws with Southampton before both sides move on to receive pummellings from both Man City and Stoke.

The surprise defeat was a nightmare result for Spurs.

Chelsea‘s surprise victory over Liverpool means Antonio Conte’s side could still overtake Spurs and take that final Champions League spot if they can take maximum points against Huddersfield and Newcastle, and Spurs slip up again against Newcastle or Leicester, or Liverpool lose their last game against Brighton.

Premier League Relegation Odds

West Brom 1/200
Southampton 5/6
Swansea 7/4
Huddersfield 5/1

The Fight For Relegation

Swansea v Southampton
Chelsea v Huddersfield

Huddersfield v Arsenal
Southampton v Man City
Crystal Palace v West Brom
Swansea v Stoke

Top 4 Odds

Spurs 1/12
Liverpool 1/10
Chelsea 7/2

The Fight for the Champions League

Spurs v Newcastle
Chelsea v Huddersfield

Spurs v Leicester
Newcastle v Chelsea
Liverpool v Brighton

Results in Full

Brighton 1 v 0 Man Utd
Stoke 1 v 2 Crystal Palace
Bournemouth 1 v 0 Swansea
Leicester 0 v 2 West Ham
Watford 2 v 1 Newcastle
West Brom 1 v 0 Spurs
Everton 1 v 1 Southampton
Man City 0 v 0 Huddersfield
Chelsea 1 v 0 Liverpool
Arsenal 5 v 0 Burnley

Premier League Table

1. Man City – 94
2. Man Utd – 77
3. Liverpool – 72
4. Spurs – 71
5. Chelsea – 69
6. Arsenal – 60
7. Burnley – 54
8. Everton – 49
9. Leicester – 44
10. Newcastle – 41
11. Crystal Palace – 41
12. Bournemouth – 41
13. Watford – 41
14. Brighton – 40
15. West Ham – 38
16. Huddersfield – 36
17. Southampton- 33
18. Swansea – 33
19. West Brom – 31
20. Stoke – 30

Comments

views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CalvinAyre.com