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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Hughton wary of tough run-in

Brighton boss Chris Hughton does not want to rely on other teams slipping up as he attempts to guide the Seagulls to safety.

After losing 3-2 at Crystal Palace on Saturday, Brighton are seven points clear of the bottom three, but have only taken one point from their last four games and face a very difficult run-in.

Brighton play Tottenham at the Amex on Tuesday night, before coming up against Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Burnley.

Hughton's team may avoid relegation even if they don't pick up any more points this season, but the Seagulls boss is keen to return to winning ways as soon as possible.

Brighton are 8/1 to be relegated this season and 13/2 to beat Tottenham on Tuesday. Hughton's side are 20/1 to win the encounter 1-0 and 6/1 to keep a clean sheet in the match.

Hughton said: "We want to be able to get to safety in this division because of what we've done and the points that we've got, not just because maybe others haven't got theirs.

"Of course you'll take it, but you are always better off if your destiny is in your own hands.

"We are capable. The top six are the top six because they are the best teams with the best players, so we know the magnitude of all of these games.

"But we've played very well against Arsenal and managed to get a result. The top six will lose games, perhaps some they don't expect to lose, and we have to go into the (Tottenham) game with that type of mentality.

"We have got tough games left and we will have to get a result that probably no-one expects in one of them."

Arnautovic backed to shine

West Ham United boss David Moyes hopes Marko Arnautovic can produce another match-winning display against Stoke City on Monday.

The 28-year-old Austrian moved from the Potters to West Ham last summer and has shown flashes of his potential at times this season.

He struggled during the first few months of the campaign but improved once Moyes had replaced Slaven Bilic as Hammers boss, with one of his best displays coming in the 3-0 win at the us Stadium in December.

Arnautovic has scored nine goal in his last 14 appearances and was at his imperious best again recently when West Ham beat Southampton, who are now managed by his former Stoke boss Mark Hughes.

"Players like Marko need a little bit of leg room, maybe more than others, and I think we gave Marko his leg room but I want to make sure he knows he has got to do the job here," Moyes said.

"I don't think he will (slack off) now, because he knows what got the crowd from booing him to cheering him every week and becoming one of their heroes."

West Ham can be backed at 1/1 to beat Stoke City while Arnautovic is 13/10 to score at any time against his former team, who are 1/8 to be relegated this term.

McClean hails Moore’s influence

James McClean revealed after West Brom's amazing 1-0 win at Manchester United that the players were all behind caretaker boss Darren Moore.

The 43-year-old was placed in temporary charge when Alan Pardew was axed a fortnight ago and has guided the rock-bottom Baggies to a draw with Swansea City and then Sunday's surprising success at Old Trafford.

James Rodriguez grabbed the only goal of the match but it was McClean who was the star of the show.

Even though the victory will only postpone Albion's relegation to the Championship, McClean is pleased that the players are showing some spirit after what has been a desperately disappointing campaign for the club.

"He's got that likeable factor, so everyone's pulling in the same direction for him," McClean said of Moore. "In the past two games we've put on two good performances for him.

"It obviously helps when you go out on the pitch knowing what you're doing – as individuals and as a team.

"Since the big man's come in, we've worked in training on what we're doing defensively and what we're doing in attack. In the past two games, we've shown we actually know what we're doing when we go out on the pitch, which obviously always helps."

West Brom are 11/2 to continue their recent improvement by beating Liverpool on Saturday, while they are 7/1 to keep a clean sheet against Jurgen Klopp's free-scoring team.

City win title on United loss

Manchester City are confirmed as the Premier League champions after neighbours United were stunned by West Brom.

The Baggies, bottom of the table and seemingly doomed to relegation won 1-0 at Old Trafford to ensure that City couldn't be caught at the top.

Pep Guardiola's side won on Saturday, away at Tottenham but must have assumed that the title would be sealed when Swansea visit the Etihad Stadium next weekend.

West Brom arrived at Old Trafford with just three league wins to their name all season with the drop down to the Championship all but confirmed.

However, despite soaking up plenty of United pressure it was the visitors who got the only goal of the game, Jay Rodriguez heading in from a second half corner.

They held out for the remainder of the game to complete their first away victory since August and their first league win since January. It still looks too late to avoid relegation with the Baggies nine points from safety.

At the other end of the table though their win gifted City the title. Guardiola's side are 16 points clear of United with five games remaining to claim their third title win in seven seasons and their first under the Spaniard.

United boss Jose Mourinho said after the game that his side had disappointed after the euphoria of beating City last weekend.

He told the BBC: "It was a bad reaction after the City victory, the consequence of that is complicated football. Some players think it is stylish football. We were a complicated team and let them feel comfortable.

"City were the best team, sooner or later they would get the points, so no dramas when the best team wins the league."

West Brom face Liverpool at home next Saturday and they are 6/1 to win again while Jurgen Klopp's side are 2/5 with the draw priced at 15/4.

The Baggies are 20/1 to win the game 1-0.

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Ayew confident of survival

Swansea striker Jordan Ayew says he believes the team are playing their way towards survival in the Premier League.

Swansea were bottom of the table when Carlos Carvalhal took over at the Liberty Stadium and their form since has taken them to the brink of survival.

Their latest point was won courtesy of a 1-1 draw at home to Everton on Saturday and it keeps the Swans five points clear of the bottom three with just five games remaining.

Ayew got the equaliser against the Toffees, his 11th goal of the season and he sees every point gained as valuable, especially considering their position at the turn of the year.

He said: "Even though we are moving slowly, it is a positive, and if we keep on playing like this we will make everyone happy.

"I think is a positive moment for the club and for me because we don't have to forget where we were six months ago.

"We are five points ahead of the bottom three now and this is a step forward."

Swansea have Manchester City and Chelsea as their next opponents and then have three final games away to Bournemouth and at home to Southampton and Stoke in which to get the points to see them over the line and, after another season of struggle, secure Premier League football for another year.

Ayew also said he was enjoying playing for Carvalhal at Swansea, adding: "When the gaffer came in he spoke to me within a day and said he was counting on me. He asked me where my best position was and everything is OK now.

"Every day I have a smile on my face and work hard when I go into training."

Manchester City will win the title if they beat Swansea next Sunday and they are 1/6 with the Swans 12/1 and the draw is priced at 13/2.

Swansea are 33/1 to win the game 1-0.

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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.

Wagner over the moon after win

David Wagner has admitted that Huddersfield Town took a big step towards safety by beating Watford 1-0 on Saturday.

A humdrum match of few clear-cut openings seemed certain to end goalless until Tom Ince's dramatic stoppage-time goal and it left the Terriers at 1/7 not to be relegated this season.

Ince steered home Mathias Jorgensen's cutback to send the home fans into raptures at the John Smith's Stadium.

It was Town's first victory in six Premier League games and lifted them seven points clear of the bottom three.

"It was a very emotional moment for everybody who supports Huddersfield," said Wagner afterwards. "I am delighted for the players, I am absolutely over the moon.

"I am so pleased for our supporters as well – they really pushed the players the whole time and then the players gave them something to cheer about.

"It will be a really great night in Huddersfield because it was a big step, for sure it was, even if we know the job isn't done."

Huddersfield are 17/10 to beat Everton on 28th April, while Southampton are now 4/9 to be relegated this season and Stoke City 1/8.

Lambert keen to end losing run

Stoke City boss Paul Lambert believes his side are playing well enough to go to West Ham United on Monday and claim all three points.

The Potters are entrenched in the relegation zone and have only five games to extricate themselves from trouble.

Lambert's side have lost their last four games, although they have all been tricky fixtures – against Manchester City, Everton, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Lambert, who succeeded the axed Mark Hughes at the us Stadium three months ago, is convinced that his side have the ability to beat the Hammers, saying: "We have to come away with something and the intent is to go there and win. We will do everything we can to get the three points.

"If we keep playing the same way we have in the last few games then we certainly have a great chance of winning the game.

"We know a win on Monday would drag a few more teams into the equation towards the bottom and that's what we have got to do."

Marko Arnautovic moved from Stoke to West Ham last summer and is 11/8 to score at any time on Monday while the Potters can be backed at 3/1 to return from the capital with all three points.

Moyes targets two more wins

West Ham manager David Moyes thinks his side need two more wins to be absolutely certain of ensuring Premier League survival this season.

The Hammers are six points clear of the drop zone heading into the weekend action, but they can only watch on with interest until they play host to Stoke City on Monday evening, with the Potters currently occupying one of the relegation places.

However, Moyes is upbeat for the challenge ahead having seen his side defeat Southampton 3-0 and draw 1-1 at Chelsea in their last two games.

He told reporters at his pre-match press conference: "We want to get ten wins. We've got eight, so we need two more. The magic number is 40 points.

"We don't have enough yet, but the performances we've put in the last two games have given everyone a real lift.

"If we can keep the form going, I don't see any reason why we shouldn't aim to go unbeaten until the end of the season. That should get us enough points to stay up."

The Irons are 1/1 to defeat Stoke on Monday, with the draw priced at 13/5 and a 2-0 win for the hosts available at 17/2.

Moyes hopes to have several key players back in contention for the game on Monday, with defender James Collins, playmaker Manuel Lanzini and striker Andy Carroll all potentially in contention.

He added: "Andy's in training. He's not played for 11 weeks, so we'll monitor him and see how he is. Getting Andy back will be a big plus for us, because we all know what he can do. Is he going to be ready? I'm not sure.

"Manu and James have both done some training. I'm hoping there is a good chance they will be involved on Monday."

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