Hodgson snaps up new keeper

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has made the Getafe goalkeeper Vicente Guaita his first capture of the summer.

The 31-year-old, whose contract with the Spanish side expires in just over three weeks' time, has agreed a three-year deal with the Eagles.

In 2017/18 Wayne Hennessey made 27 Premier League starts in goal for Palace and Julian Speroni 11, while in 2016/17 Steve Mandanda was also on the club's books although his time at Selhurst Park was ruined by injuries.

Guaita made more than 100 appearances for Valencia before moving to Getafe four years ago.

Last season Getafe finished eighth in La Liga thanks largely to their fine defensive record. They only let in 33 goals in their 38 matches with only Barcelona and Real Madrid conceding fewer.

Palace chairman Steve Parish said: "We are delighted to sign one of La Liga's best goalkeepers and pleased that we beat off the competition for his signature.

"We very much look forward to Vicente joining in pre-season training and helping us push on in the Premier League."

Crystal Palace finished 11th in the Premier League last season despite losing their first seven matches, failing to score a goal in any of them.

They are 9/4 to secure a top-half finish in the 2018/19 campaign and 11/2 to be relegated.

Premier League Betting Tips: It’s the Last Chance ‘til Summer!

Well, it’s been another great season in the EPL, with shocks aplenty, not least at the bottom end of the table. But for now, as all good things, it comes to an end.

Fear not, World Cup 2018 is on its way when we’ll enjoy watching the best players in the world over a month of magical football. In the meantime, for my last Premier League choices of this season I’m watching the two Albions, as they visit sides in form; and then the third of this week’s handicap betting picks is a tale of two Cities which, I’m afraid, will be a sad and sorry affair.

Liverpool vs Brighton & Hove Albion (May 13, 22:00 GMT+8)

Jurgen Klopp says this is Liverpool’s biggest game of the season but it should end happily. The Reds currently have the fourth Champions League spot in their mits and a draw will cement that for Klopp’s side, before they try to win this year’s European crown. Mo Salah has probably won the Golden Boot but will want to make sure against a Brighton side safe, and most likely exhausted after a tough campaign.

I think we’ll see Liverpool at their attacking best so I’m going for a home win, with a -2.00 goals handicap in a🌟🌟🌟 bet at odds of 1.83.

Crystal Palace vs West Bromwich Albion (May 13, 22:00 GMT+8)

The mood will be upbeat, as ever, at Selhurst Park, though there’ll be many Baggies questioning just what might have been, had Darren Moore been appointed boss a few weeks earlier. He’s done an amazing job, winning 11 points from five games.

Roy Hodgson too has done great work in hauling the Eagles up the table, after they lost their first seven, and the form of Wilfried Zaha has been scintillating.

Palace has the quality to finish with a victory but I can see both teams scoring so, for a 🌟🌟🌟 bet, I’m backing Over 2.5 goals at 1.81.

Swansea City vs Stoke City (May 13, 22:00 GMT+8)

The Potters are already down, and the only chance Swansea has of staying in the top division is to win this game well, and hope Manchester City hit eight or nine past Southampton! Of course, that’s not impossible, but I expect this to be a low key affair where the fans may struggle to lift their teams.

Swansea’s home form should squeeze them through at odds of 1.89 for a 🌟🌟 bet.

A short explanation on how our (🌟) bets are worth :

🌟🌟🌟 = €20 (Highly confident)
🌟🌟 = €10 (Confident)
🌟 = €5 (Somewhat confident)

Head over to the betting tips section and see how our writers perform in their predicted bets.

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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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Roy waits on Loftus-Cheek future

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson will wait until the summer to find out whether he can keep Chelsea loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek at the club for next season.

The 22-year-old joined the Eagles on a season-long loan deal after finding first-team opportunities at Stamford Bridge limited and his form for Palace earned him a senior England debut against Germany.

An injury sustained against Brazil a matter of days later saw Loftus-Cheek limp off, while just after Christmas he suffered an ankle problem which kept him out of action until mid-March.

However, since his return Palace have lost just once in seven Premier League games to banish any lingering relegation fears and Hodgson has been highly impressed by a player he would clearly like to keep at the club.

He told reporters: "He's a fantastic player and of course we'd love to keep him. We'd love to bring him back, but the bottom line is he was loaned to us for a season.

"At the end of the season the plan from Chelsea was that he would go back to them, so I guess we'll have to wait and see what their thinking is.

"If they make him available in any way then, of course, we'll be right there trying to get to the front of the queue with our hands up but it's totally out of our hands. Chelsea will decide."

Palace complete a topsy-turvy season at home to West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

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Stoke is Right Down as Super Eagles Fly to Safety

Stoke City 1-2 Crystal Palace

Two second half goals guaranteed Roy Hodgson’s Eagles Premier League survival, but it meant misery for Stoke who head to the Championship.

After Xherdan Shaqiri gave the Potters a first half lead, home fans hoped their heroes could defy betting odds with a daring escape, but if they backed Stoke with their football bets it was double trouble.

Palace had won six of the nine previous Premier League football games between these two, but for a while it seemed the Potters would keep alive their hopes of prolonging a ten-year stay in the Premier League.

The first half was a nervous affair short on quality, though Joe Allen was at his industrious best at the heart of Stoke’s midfield; and the first big chance came on 22 minutes when Xherdan Shaqiri crossed for Mame Biram Diouf who glanced his header agonisingly wide. But the roof came off the Stadium minutes before half time, when Shaqiri won a free-kick, and then hit a peach into the top corner, with a little help from Ruben Loftus Cheek’s deflection.

It was always going to be a torturous second half for Stoke fans and, after Palace began to take control, Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha causing panic in the Stoke defence, it was no surprise when the Eagles drew level. James McArthur was the unlikely finisher of a sweeping attack which silenced the Stoke faithful, knowing they had to climb the mountain again.

But they never even made base camp, as Palace looked the more likely to score, Zaha and Christian Benteke missing good chances. And then, with five minutes on the clock Patrick Van Aanholt finally put the Potters out of their misery.

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Baggies fight on

West Brom's incredible end to the Premier League season continued as they beat Tottenham to stave off relegation, for the moment at least.

Stoke City became the first team to be relegated from the top flight earlier in the day, their decade-long stay coming to an end after defeat at home to Crystal Palace, a result that ensured Roy Hodgson's side survived.

The Baggies needed to beat Spurs at home and, going into injury time with the match goalless, relegation looked assured.

However Jake Livermore got on the end of a frantic goalmouth scramble to force the ball home and cause mayhem at The Hawthorns.

That result, combined with Swansea's defeat at Bournemouth, means that they remain a Premier League club though they could still be relegated if Southampton beat Everton on Saturday evening.

Having been bottom of the Premier League table for so long the victory over Spurs, their third in four games, moved them up to 19th.

They still look likely to go down, their incredible revival under caretaker coach Darren Moore may have come too late, but after taking 10 points from five games during his time in charge, they are not going down without a fight.

Goalscorer Livermore accepted that relegation was still likely but said the team would keep battling on.

He said: "It is difficult when you look at the table, it is not a good read but all we can do is take it game by game.

"Darren Moore and his staff, all of the staff mean an awful lot to us. They are with us every kick."

Swansea and Southampton both remain in deep relegation trouble and they meet at the Liberty Stadium in midweek with the Swans 15/8, the Saints at 6/4 with the draw priced at 11/5.

Swansea are 8/1 to win the game 1-0.

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Hodgson celebrates Palace survival

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson said that he himself had doubted whether they could escape from relegation after a terrible start to the season.

The Eagles ensured their survival in the top flight after a 2-1 win away at Stoke, a result that relegated the Potters after a decade in the Premier League.

Stoke had taken the lead at home, Xherdan Shaqiri scoring from a free-kick just before half-time.

However, Palace were level with just over 20 minutes remaining, James McArthur equalising while Patrick van Aanholt hit the winner in the 86th minute.

That ensured Stoke's relegation but for Palace there was celebration after they had appeared relegation certainties early in the campaign.

They lost their first seven games of the season without scoring a goal but Roy Hodgson's arrival eventually sparked a steady revival and they have now reached 41 points with one game remaining.

Hodgson himself admitted that he feared the worst after such a poor start.

He told the BBC after the match: "After seven games, or after 11 games with four points, I never saw it coming.

"I was hoping it would be a low-scoring year in terms of points for the lower sides and we'd just scrape over the line.

"But we came here, basically safe, I couldn't see us going down with 38 points, so I think it was a great show of character from us to come here and play really well."

His side are now sitting comfortably in 11th place in the table and the former England boss is now targeting a top 10 finish which they could achieve if they beat West Brom on the final day of the Premier League season and other results go their way.

Meanwhile Manchester City, this season's Premier League champions are 4/6 to win the title again in 2018-19. Manchester United are 6/1 with Chelsea priced at 12/1.

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Hodgson dismisses Zaha talk

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson says that he feels confident that Wilfried Zaha will stay with the club despite transfer speculation.

The winger has proved to be integral to the Eagles chances of remaining in the Premier League this season.

They have lost all 10 league games in which he wasn't involved. However, he has been fit in recent weeks and scored twice as Palace beat Brighton last weekend to move six points clear of the bottom three.

They face Watford away in the Premier League on Saturday and, ahead of that game, Hodgson told the assembled media that, despite talk of other clubs being interested in Zaha, the player has shown no interest in leaving Selhurst Park.

He said: "Transfer speculation will always be rife, there's no doubt about that, there will always be suggestions that this and that player is on the move. We can do nothing about that.

"Wilfried certainly shows no sign of having any other thoughts other than helping his club to get through these last four games and still be in the Premier League this season."

Palace are 6/4 to win at Vicarage Road with the Hornets 21/10 and the draw is priced at 23/10.

Palace are now 1000/1 to be relegated while they are 4/7 to finish in the top half of the Premier League table.

Hodgson added that naturally the club wanted Zaha to stay and he has four years remaining on his contract.

Despite the six-point gap over the bottom three the Palace boss stressed the importance of the next few games, starting with Watford on Saturday.

"It's an unbelievably important month. A very important month for this group of players," he added.

"The players have dragged themselves to a position where safety is in touching distance. We can't let it slip."

Hodgson also dismissed reports that Christian Benteke is in discussions about a move away from the club.

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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."