Shaqiri: I’m leaving Stoke

Xherdan Shaqiri has confirmed that he will be leaving Stoke City this summer while the Potters have released Glen Johnson and Stephen Ireland.

Switzerland international Shaqiri is being linked with Everton and Tottenham, while Southampton, and a reunion with former Stoke boss Mark Hughes, is also a possibility.

"Of course, yes, it is no longer a secret that I will leave Stoke City," Shaqiri said. "I think the league is perfect for me.

"I would love to stay in England, but I do not want to rule anything out. It is the best league with the best players – simple."

Shaqiri is believed to have a release clause in his contract of approximately £12million.

Meanwhile, former England international Johnson leaves the us Stadium after making 64 appearances in three years with the club.

Ireland was able to make just 25 starts in five seasons with Stoke due to injury problems.

Stoke, who were relegated from the Premier League this season, are also releasing Under-23 players Shola Ayoola, Lewis Banks, Ryan Hill, Eddy Lecygne and Luis Da Silva.

Stoke are 9/4 to bounce back to the top-flight by being promoted from the Championship in 2018/19, while Middlesbrough are 3/1 to go up, Norwich City 7/1 and West Brom 5/2.

Rowett plans to revive Potters

Gary Rowett says an immediate return to the Premier League for Stoke City is his target after being confirmed as the Potters' new manager.

The 44-year-old succeeds Paul Lambert who left the us Stadium last week after failing to keep the club in the top-flight.

Stoke, who had started the campaign with Mark Hughes as their manager, had spent the last decade in the Premier League and Rowett believes there is everything in place to mount a serious promotion push in 2018/19.

"This has come around quite quickly but I am absolutely delighted to make the move to such an ambitious football club," he said.

"This is a club that has had amazing stability over the years, has been established in the Premier League for some time and the challenge for me now is, of course, to get Stoke City back into that division as soon as possible.

"My ambition has always been to one day manage in the Premier League and, having been in the Championship for three years now, I feel this is a great opportunity for me to do that."

Rowett had been in charge at Derby County since March 2017 but decided to leave the Rams after they were beaten by Fulham in the Championship play-offs earlier this month.

Rowett had been surprisingly axed by Birmingham City in December 2016 despite lifting the club into the top half of the Championship. Before taking charge at St Andrew's he had been the manager of Burton Albion.

During his playing career he starred for Cambridge United, Derby, Birmingham City, Leicester City, Charlton Athletic and Burton.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa are 14/1 to beat Fulham 2-0 in Saturday's Championship play-of final. The Cottagers are 11/2 to win the Wembley clash 1-0.

Lambert leaves relegated Stoke

Paul Lambert has left his position as manager of Stoke City by mutual consent after failing to keep the Potters in the Premier League.

The former Aston Villa and Norwich City boss signed a two-and-a-half-year contract in January when he succeeded Mark Hughes in the us Stadium hot-seat.

Stoke were 18th in the Premier League table, a point away from safety, when Lambert was appointed, but they won only seven top-flight matches all season and were relegated earlier this month after losing 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace.

The Potters, who won at Swansea City on the final day of the campaign, only triumphed in two of Lambert's 15 games in charge.

A statement on Stoke City's official website read: "The club would like to thank Paul for his work over the past four months and wish him well for the future.

"Whilst he was unable to guide us to Premier League safety after being appointed in January, it certainly wasn't due to a lack of effort, professionalism and dedication on his part.

"The club will appoint a replacement as soon as possible in order to give the new manager time to prepare for the challenge of the 2018/19 season in the Championship."

In 2018/19, Cardiff City are 4/5 to be relegated from the Premier League, while Southampton are 7/1 to go down, Crystal Palace 6/1 and Wolves 5/1.

Emotions Run High on a Sad Day

Swansea City 1-2 Stoke City

The tone for the afternoon was set inside two minutes.

That’s how long it took both sets of fans to chant ‘going down’ – a humorous and realistic perspective from supporters of both Stoke (already down) and Swansea whose optimism their heroes could survive was never more than hopeful.

The South-Wales club required one of the biggest turnarounds in football games – a big win, alongside a big defeat for Southampton – to have any chance of staying up and the betting odds were not in their favour.

Yet the chances of an eventful live betting afternoon briefly lifted when Andre Ayew laid the ball off to Andy King – a midfielder who was celebrating the Premier League title with Leicester two years ago – to open the scoring in the 14th minute.

That was as bright as it got, however, for the home side whose seven-season stay in the top flight has come to an end, despite a major improvement since Carlos Carvalhal took charge in the new year (including impressive victories over Liverpool and Arsenal).

They now join Stoke in the Championship next season and also share a theme of discontent with the club’s board – albeit a protest before kick-off against the Swansea board and owners was little more than underwhelming.

After King opened the scoring, a hush descended on the home ground when Badou Ndiaye levelled just past the half hour. Veteran Peter Crouch added a second before the break and even a Lukas Fabianski penalty save to deny Xherdan Shaqiri could not rouse the hosts from their slumber.

A sad afternoon all round for Swansea who not only said farewell to the Premier League after seven years but also to club stalwarts Leon Britton and Angel Rangel, made skipper for the day.

Britton has played for the club in each of the four divisions and Rangel was making his 374th and final appearance for them.

If Stoke fans had been playing, perhaps mission impossible would have been possible.

Certainly, they were not too enamoured by ex-boss Mark Hughes keeping Southampton up at the expense of Swansea and joined in the home chants of ‘we want 10’ – a reference to the goal difference swing required.

Yet professional pride dictated an improved showing from Stoke who, perhaps, were harsh to get shut of Hughes so soon into the new year.

This victory at least has spared them the ignominy of finishing the season bottom of the table.

For both these clubs, however, the gallows humour was the only bright side as rebuilding begins in the Championship.

Click for more football betting options.

Bet NOW!

Swans won’t give up

Manager Carlos Carvalhal is adamant Swansea City won't concede in their relegation battle despite a damaging home loss against Southampton.

The Saints took a big step towards safety on Tuesday evening as Manolo Gabbiadini scored the only goal of a tense affair at the Liberty Stadium.

Saints now enjoy a three-point cushion over Swansea with just one game left to play. Their goal difference advantage over the Swans means Mark Hughes' team will have to lose to Manchester City on Sunday, while Carvalhal and his men must beat relegated Stoke and hope for a ten-goal swing between the teams.

Swansea's best hope now may be that 17th placed Huddersfield lose at Chelsea on Wednesday evening and again at home to Arsenal on Sunday.

Those results, coupled with a Swansea win over Stoke at the Liberty on Sunday, would be enough for the Welsh team to survive on goal difference.

For Carvalhal it was hard to criticise his players despite their failure to score at home for the eighth time this season, a Premier League high.

"It was a push to us because the boys did everything in the game. They played with a fantastic attitude," Carvalhal said.

"We played more long balls than normal but it is normal in this kind of situation with the emotion. The goalkeeper made two or three fantastic saves.

"I will not put the fault in my players, I never do this. I assume responsibility. It is not a question that they are not good enough, we created chances. We did our maximum, the players did their maximum but we did not score for whatever reason."

Swansea are 7/10 to beat Stoke on Sunday, with the draw 5/2 and the away side 9/2. Carvalhal hopes they'll still have a chance going into that game and he isn't ready to give up.

"In this moment we are not relegated. Tomorrow, we don't know. Definitely we don't depend on ourselves," he added.

View all Soccer betting

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.

Click for more football betting options.

Bet NOW!

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.

View all Soccer betting

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.

View all Soccer betting

Belief still intact says Carvalhal

Swansea City head coach Carlos Carvalhal insists his side remain on course to escape relegation, despite having not won any of their last six Premier League games.

The Swans stand just a single point outside the drop zone with three games to play, the first of which is a trip to Bournemouth on Saturday.

Following that journey to the South Coast, City host Southampton in what could be a winner-takes-all clash on Tuesday, before welcoming another side in trouble, Stoke City, to the Liberty Stadium on the final day of the season.

And Carvalhal is remaining upbeat heading into what looks like being a fight to the very end for his team and a number of others.

He said at his pre-match press conference: "We have three chances to get the points we need to stay in the Premier League.

"But we are not waiting for the last game or the last two games. We want points as soon as possible and we are looking at the next game as though it is the final one.

"We understand it will be difficult away from home against Bournemouth, but our aim is to go there and fight for three points. That is all we are thinking about.

"We are dealing with the situation we are in and that makes us optimistic going into the last three games."

Swansea and Bournemouth played out a goalless draw when the two sides met in South Wales in late November and another draw on Saturday is available at 5/2, while the visitors are 13/5 to win the game and 12/1 to do so by a 1-0 scoreline.

View all Soccer betting

Are You Ready for Football Bets on Relegation Escapes?

Manchester City may be kings, but that doesn’t mean that the Premier League season is over. For many of the teams below the top half of the table, the last three football games of the season could decide whether they stay up or return to the Championship.

The games I will look at feature clubs that are close to the 40-point mark on the table. Teams that get 40 points are virtually guaranteed another season of top-flight football.

Making a bet online on these games is sure to bring good entertainment and quality winnings.

Stoke City vs Crystal Palace (May 5, 19:30 GMT +8)

Stoke City are hard-pressed to get the win as they hope to make a daring escape from the drop. Paul Lambert will surely continue their aggressive approach in order to steal a win against Crystal Palace.

The Eagles would have to play carefully and use Stoke’s forward-mindedness to catch them unawares in the counter. Wilfried Zaha only needs to assert his dominance the way he did at Leicester in order to secure the three points.

I see another Palace win here, and my first tip is Crystal Palace Draw No Bet @ 1.99 for 🌟🌟.

AFC Bournemouth vs Swansea City (May 5, 22:00 GMT +8)

Bournemouth are looking to break a winless rut, the latest of which was a bitter defeat to South Coast neighbours Southampton. Eddie Howe is more than aware that he only needs a win in order to secure the Cherries another season.

They have a chance at booking their ticket to next season when they host Swansea at the weekend. It’s been more than two months since the Swans won a Premier League game, and they are flirting with a drop if they don’t snatch a victory here.

Swansea will try to salvage a point despite having many of their stars on the injury reserve. Meanwhile, Joshua King needs to score more goals for the Cherries. I see a draw happening in this match, making Swansea +0.25 @ 2.09 worth a 🌟 bet.

Watford vs Newcastle United (May 5, 22:00 GMT +8)

Newcastle have secured their position in the Premier League. With little left to play for, they could approach their away game to Vicarage Road with a more relaxed mindset.

Should that become the case, the Hornets could take this opportunity to snap their winless streak, get the 40 points, and secure another season of top-flight football. Expect Javi Garcia to needle the ball through Abdoulaye Doucoure.

I see a good win for Watford here, so Watford -0.25 @ 2.12 is worth another 🌟.

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

🌟🌟🌟 = £20
🌟🌟 = £10
🌟 = £5

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

Click for more football betting options.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

Bet NOW!