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.

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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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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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."

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.

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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Salah secures Reds win

Mohamed Salah yet again proved the difference as Liverpool came from behind to win 2-1 at Crystal Palace.

Luka Milivojevic converted from the penalty spot early in the first half to give Palace the lead after goalkeeper Loris Karius took out Wilfried Zaha.

Sadio Mane, fortunate not to have been red-carded by that stage, turned in James Milner's cross shortly after the break to level matters.

It was the home side that engineered most after that, with former Liverpool striker Christian Benteke passing up to presentable chances.

They were made to rue those six minutes from the end when Salah showed superb composure inside the box to cushion Andy Robertson's pass into space with his left foot and finish with his right past Wayne Hennessy.

It was Salah's 29th Premier League goal of the season – equalling the league record of scoring in 21 matches in a 38-game season with six games to spare.

The win was a timely boost for Liverpool, they host Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday evening.

The Reds are 19/10 to win that game, with City priced at 7/5 and the draw 12/5.

Liverpool beat Man City 4-3 in the league at Anfield in January, with a repeat of that scoreline priced at 80/1.

Jurgen Klopp admitted that he wasn't surprised by his team having to scrap for three points at Selhurst Park.

"It is usual for us that we need to fight here, especially after a difficult start, but it makes it more special at the end. The win was deserved," said the Liverpool boss.

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