3rd of May 2018 Author: Johnny Karp
Stoke City have two finals left this season and the first one is on Saturday at noon when Crystal Palace visit them at the Bet365 Stadium. The reverse fixture was won 2-1 by the Eagles in November, Xherdan Shaqiri had scored to put the Potters ahead but Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mamadou Sakho turned things around for the home side. Stoke have won just one of the last nine direct matches against Crystal Palace in all competitions, it happened last season when the Potters grabbed a 1-0 home win over the Eagles.
Stoke City have two matches left to play this season and it's quite clear that they have to win both of them if they want to have any chance of surviving in the Premier League. The Potters are currently three points behind 17th-placed Swansea, but the Swans have a game in hand so even if Stoke win both their matches they depend on other results as well. Last weekend Stoke held Liverpool to a goalless draw at Anfield, that was the third consecutive draw for the Potters, who have not won a match since January. Bruno Martins Indi and Konstantino Stafylidis are injured, while Glen Johnson and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting will have to undergo late fitness tests.
Crystal Palace are not mathematically safe from relegation yet, but it's difficult to imagine they would drop from their current eleventh place down to eighteenth. In theory they would need just one victory out of the remaining three Premier League matches to make sure of their survival after they recorded an impressive 5-0 win over Leicester last week. The Eagles are unbeaten in their last four league matches and if they win at Stoke they can hope to leapfrog Newcastle in tenth place. Scott Dann, Jason Puncheon and Bakary Sako are injured, while Connor Wickham has just returned to training and will most likely have to settle for a place on the bench.
Stoke: Butland - Bauer, Shawcross, Zouma, Pieters - Sobhi, Allen, Ndiaye, Shaqiri - Crouch, Diouf
Crystal Palace: Hennessey - Ward, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt - McArthur, Milivojevic, Cabaye, Loftus-Cheek - Zaha, Townsend
My prediction: 2-2 draw.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Stoke win - 2.60
Draw - 3.25
Crystal Palace win - 2.70
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