Tomkins values Zaha’s influence

Crystal Palace defender James Tomkins says his side are lucky to have Wilfried Zaha among their ranks, following a crucial 3-2 Premier League win over Brighton.

The Eagles have not gained a single league point from any game in which Zaha has not taken part this season, an issue which was highlighted when the Ivory Coast international was recently sidelined by a knee injury.

However, with Zaha back in the fold, Palace have earned four points from their last two games, with the 25-year-old scoring twice in the victory over the Seagulls on Saturday which lifted the Londoners six points clear of the drop zone.

And Tomkins is well aware of just how important Zaha is to the overall play of his side, who are back in action next Saturday when they head to Vicarage Road to take on Watford.

He told the Evening Standard: "Wilf is Wilf, he turns games on his own. He's massively important to the team and he showed that again on Saturday – we are fortunate to have him.

"He does not shy away from running at defenders. He is a defender's worst nightmare at times, when he is running at them at the speed he does and with the skill he has.

"He could play for any team in the Premier League. We are just lucky to have him."

Palace have claimed three wins and three draws from their last six visits to the Hornets, while earlier this season the meeting of the two sides at Selhurst Park ended 2-1 to the hosts thanks to dramatic late strikes from bakery Sako and James McArthur.

The Eagles are 31/20 to claim all three points next weekend, with the draw priced at 11/5, while the visitors are 10/1 to secure a 2-1 victory.

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Zaha’s form thrills Hodgson

Roy Hodgson is so pleased with Wilfried Zaha's form that he thinks the Crystal Palace star can be as good a player as Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard.

The 25-year-old scored twice on Saturday as the Eagles secured a vital 3-2 victory against Brighton.

The result lifted Palace above Swansea and up to 16th in the Premier League table, six points clear of the bottom three.

Hodgson said of former Manchester United star Zaha: "We can't ask any more than what he's giving us.

"His dribbling ability and ability on the ball has been very good for a long time, so what step can he take to get himself up there recognised like Sanchez, like Eden Hazard is recognised at Chelsea?

"What's he going to do to make that step? With his qualities, he can take that step and become even better.

"Wilf has been in superb form this season, and last season towards the end too. We had to take off Ruben Loftus-Cheek for the last 10 minutes as he cramped up, but his performance was fantastic as well."

Palace are 31/20 to win their next match on Saturday at Vicarage Road against Watford while Brighton are now 8/1 to be relegated this season.

Hodgson ponders his options

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson could restore Christian Benteke to his starting line-up for Saturday's crunch clash against Brighton.

The 27-year-old Belgium international, who has struggled to find his best form all season, missed last weekend's 2-2 draw with Bournemouth because of a groin injury and it was suggested that the Eagles looked a better outfit in his absence.

However, Hodgson remains a big fan of the former Aston Villa and Liverpool striker, who has only scored twice in the Premier League this term – against Leicester City and West Ham United.

With five games remaining, Palace are one place and three points above the bottom three with Brighton four points better off in 13th place and with a game in hand.

However, the Seagulls have a very hard run-in and can be backed at 16/1 to be relegated this season, while Palace are 11/2 to win Saturday's game 1-0.

"As far as we are concerned, these last five games have enormous importance irrespective of who we play," Hodgson said.

"But given the fact that it is Brighton and there is this enormous rivalry between the two teams I can't deny it gives it an extra edge.

"We must not allow our hearts to rule our heads to the extent that we make mistakes tactically or by showing too much emotion which maybe leads to a player getting booked or sent off which can happen in these derby games.

"Alexander Sorloth trained for the first time on Thursday and came through the session well while Christian Benteke has made enormous progress."

Hughton retains survival concerns

Brighton boss Chris Hughton says there is still a long way to go before his players can celebrate ensuring a second successive season in the Premier League.

The Seagulls head into a weekend grudge match with Crystal Palace holding a seven-point cushion above the relegation places, despite having picked up just one point from their last three games.

And with a tough-looking run-in ahead of them, Hughton has told his side not to even contemplate having already secured survival, as they prepare to be boosted by the return from suspension of Anthony Knockaert.

Ahead of a trip to Selhurst Park on Saturday, Hughton told reporters: "It's very, very difficult at this stage to speak about six-pointers, because they are all very big games.

"Until we are in a position that we could see ourselves safe in this division, whenever that next game is becomes the biggest game.

"I would still rather, even with the games that we have, be in a position where we have a certain amount of points as opposed to desperately having to get them.

"There is still a long way to go and we will certainly have to pull out, I think, some good results. There are groups of teams below us very capable of winning their games.

"The players are ready and they have to be ready. Every game for us, particularly every game away from home, is a very difficult game."

Having taken on Palace, Albion have visits to Burnley, Manchester City and Liverpool ahead of them, with their two remaining home games against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.

Brighton are currently priced at 16/1 to be relegated this season, with Palace available at 8/1 and Southampton 10/11.

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Hodgson insists Eagles will stay up

Roy Hodgson is confident that his Crystal Palace side will avoid relegation after being impressed with their tenacity in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Bournemouth.

The Eagles are three points clear of the bottom three before Sunday's matches and almost beat Bournemouth who scored an 89th-minute equaliser courtesy of substitute Josh King.

"It's going to be a dogfight with all the teams down there," said former England manager Hodgson afterwards.

"It can boil down to the fact that you score some lucky goals or survive some really hairy escapes.

"But if we can continue to play like that for the next five games we have to believe we can take enough points. I have confidence in the team and the team showed they have confidence in themselves."

Palace have only won one of their last 10 league matches and are 8/1 to be relegated this season while Southampton are 11/10 to go down and Stoke City 1/5.

Luka Milivojevic gave Palace the lead after the interval but the Cherries equalised when Lys Mousset netted. Wilfried Zaha restored the Eagles' advantage only for King to bundle home the last-gasp equaliser for Eddie Howe's side.

Surgery ends Stanislas’ season

Bournemouth forward Junior Stanislas will miss the remainder of the Premier League season after undergoing surgery on a serious knee injury.

The 28-year-old has seen his campaign disrupted by injures on several occasions, however, Stanislas had found form after overcoming those problems, scoring four goals in his last eight appearances for the Cherries.

He has now been forced back on to the sidelines, with head coach Eddie Howe confirming the bad news ahead of a weekend visit from Crystal Palace.

Howe told reporters: "He picked up a serious knee injury against Watford and has been operated on.

"We'll be looking now towards next season and whether he'll make the start. We'll have to see how his rehab goes. He's a big miss for us.

"At first our medical team were worried about him doing his cruciate ligament, but it was the anterior, the lateral meniscus.

"It's probably the better of the two evils. It has been operated on and repaired, we're quite happy with how that has gone."

Meanwhile, Howe confirmed that Adam Smith will miss the weekend action, but has not yet been ruled out for the rest of the season, with the defender currently sidelined by a knee problem.

The Cherries and the Eagles shared the spoils from a 2-2 draw at Selhurst Park earlier this season, with Jermain Defoe netting both goals for the visitors.

He can be backed at 13/8 to score at anytime on Saturday and is 11/2 to net the first goal of the game, with Bournemouth 9/1 to win the game 2-1.

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It’s Tough at the Bottom in Premier League Betting

Can you stand the pressure? It doesn’t get a lot hotter than at this time of the season, and particularly if you’re in or around the bottom three.

If you’ve been keeping up with the relegation betting odds then you’ll know the Baggies are on their way out but which two are set to join them is way up in the air. The popular early season football prediction condemned Huddersfield from the outset but the Terriers are still in with a decent shout and fighting for their lives.


Brighton & Hove Albion vs Huddersfield Town

Chris Hughton’s Brighton need two more wins to get to the magical 40 point mark while the Terriers are three points above the drop. David Wagner has received plenty of accolades for the way he’s kept Huddersfield in the hunt but, with one point from four games, there is still a mountain to climb.

Stoke City vs Tottenham Hotspur

After holding out for 75 minutes 19th-placed Potters thought they had a sniff of a point against Arsenal last week, only to lose 3-0. So meeting the Gunners’ North London rivals isn’t the ideal recovery plan, particularly as Spurs went to Stamford Bridge last week to beat Chelsea 1-3 and record a fourth consecutive away win.

Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace

The Cherries look all but safe on 37 points but the Eagles are right in the thick of it, clinging on to the invaluable 17th place after a run of five defeats in six. Roy Hodgson picked them up from a dire position and has the talent, in Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend, to see the job through, but they’ll gladly take a point here.

West Bromwich Albion vs Swansea City

Poor Alan Pardew has gone; and so have the Baggies by the way, ten points from safety, one win in 30 and needing six from their last six to survive. It’s not going to happen but a team with nothing to play for can be dangerous. The Swans still desperately need the points, in 15th and just three above the trapdoor.

Watford FC vs Burnley

Not even Burnley’s biggest fan would have expected them to be in the top seven, as they have been for nearly the entire season. Three back-to-back wins have given the Clarets a good chance of Europa football, while the Hornets season is fizzling out in 11th, but they do have a sting at home.

Leicester City vs Newcastle United

At the beginning of the season this would have looked like a gentle mid-table clash, but it has only just become so as the Magpies, who’ve been in the relegation mix all season, have taken ten points from five to fly to virtual safety. The cunning Foxes did their usual trick of starting badly, sacking their boss and then scurrying up the table!


Arsenal vs Southampton

Southampton put in an abject display at the London Stadium last week, much to the Hammers’ delight, andt that leaves Mark Hughes’ team in a real pickle. Anything less than a win at the Emirates and the Saints stay in the bottom three. The Arsenal natives are restless, but they have won the last four in all competitions.

Chelsea vs West Ham United

Defeat to Spurs has left Chelsea with a huge eight point gap to bridge if they are to reach the top four. Meanwhile, Marko Arnautovic inspired the Hammers to a much needed win last week, after suffering a run of heavy defeats, but they still have work to do to steer clear of trouble.

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Hodgson says Palace not wallowing

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson insists that he and his side are not wallowing despite a spate of narrow defeats.

The Eagles performed well in their recent home games against Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool but ended up with no points for their efforts.

All three were lost by late goals, most recently Mo Salah scoring for Liverpool last weekend to leave Palace close to the relegation zone.

They are precariously placed just one place above the bottom three with Southampton, third bottom, two points behind and having a game in hand on the Eagles.

So, those three recent defeats have been costly but, with six games of the season remaining, Hodgson insists they are in the past, there is no wallowing, with the team fully focussed on the games to come.

He told local media: "Our focus has to remain on the performances, and not get too caught up on having a bit of bad luck, and start feeling sorry for ourselves about not getting the results we felt we deserved in games.

"But that is all part and parcel of football, so we have to make certain that the good things we did [against Liverpool] – and I thought there were some good things last week too, we have to make sure we keep doing those things in the next six games."

Palace are next in action away at Bournemouth on Saturday and play Brighton, Watford, Leicester, Stoke and West Brom before the end of the season.

The Eagles are 15/8 to win on Saturday. Eddie Howe's side are almost safe from the drop and they are 6/4 for the three points with the draw priced at 11/5.

Palace are 1/10 to escape relegation at the end of the season.

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Lallana injury a worry for Klopp

Head coach Jurgen Klopp is fearful that Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana has suffered a serious setback, having only recently returned to action following long-term injury.

The 29-year-old England international has been restricted to a single Premier League start so far this season and he was again used as a substitute in the 2-1 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

However, Lallana last less than five minutes at Selhurst Park before being forced from the field and was later spotted leaving the ground on crutches.

And, while waiting for an exact prognosis, Klopp is clearly concerned that the hamstring injury sustained could mean more time on the sidelines and put Lallana in doubt for a World Cup spot this summer.

He told the club's official website: "I haven't spoken with him, but I saw him. It's absolutely bad.

"We don't know exactly what he has, but in the first moment and then I saw him going down it looked really serious, to be honest.

"It looks like something with the muscle (hamstring), we couldn't make any further assessment so far, of course, but we will do that as quick as possible.

"Maybe one of the biggest achievements of the team is that they could play a season so far like they played without Adam Lallana – I never would have thought it was possible.

"So we are all desperately waiting for him and now coming step-by-step back and now; it's a big, big blow for us."

Liverpool are back in action on Wednesday evening, when they play host to Manchester City in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

The Reds are 19/10 to win the game at Anfield and are 14/1 to do so by a 2-0 scoreline, with Liverpool 2/1 to go on and qualify for the semi-finals of the competition.

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Mo Delivers Every Time for Live Betting Thrills

Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool

Mo Salah banged in his 29th goal of the league season as Liverpool broke the Eagles’ hearts with a late winner at Selhurst Park.

Palace looked like beating the betting odds after going in ahead at half-time, and staying level until the last ten minutes, but Salah’s strike leaves them deep in relegation trouble, while online betting fans who backed a Reds win started the weekend in style.

Roy Hodgson’s side gave it a real go and Wilfried Zaha had the first big chance of the game, bursting through a sleepy Liverpool defence only to see his shot bravely saved by Loris Karius. But the Reds failed to heed the warning and just five minutes later Zaha found himself on the end of a long ball and all Karius could do was to wipe the striker out. Luka Milivojevic is one of the best penalty takers in the league and he made no mistake, thumping his spot-kick into the corner.

Liverpool thought they had their own penalty on 23 minutes but Sadio Mane was booked for his theatrical dive. And the passionate home crowd was cheering and jeering again, soon after, when Mane celebrated a headed equaliser only to see it chalked offside. Then, moments before the break Wayne Hennessey made a smart save to deny Sane and send the Eagles into half-time ahead.

But it didn’t take much of the second half for Mane to finally get some joy, firing home from close range on 48 minutes to quieten the Selhurst Park faithful. Palace fought back; breaking for quick-fire chances only for Christian Benteke to miss two sitters.

And they continued to give as good as they got; and looked like they’d earned a hard fought point, until that man Salah popped up to score his dramatic winner.

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