STOKE’S relegation from the Premier League was confirmed after a crushing 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace yesterday.
Xherdan Shaqiri put the Potters ahead with a brilliant free-kick in the 43rd minute but James McArthur levelled for Palace after half-time.
Patrick van Aanholt then capitalised on a defensive error to score a late winner and end Stoke’s 10-year stay in the top-flight.
Palace themselves are guaranteed to stay in the Premier League thanks to the result, while Stoke will look back with plenty of regret on the points they have dropped in the last month as, for the third time in four games, they failed to hold onto the lead.
In total, they have now lost 18 points from winning positions this season while Paul Lambert has managed just one victory since he was appointed manager in January.
Stoke had not finished below 14th in their previous nine Premier League seasons, but they could not get the victory they needed against a Palace side who have been revitalised under Roy Hodgson. Neither side created much in a tight first half at the bet365 Stadium, with Mame Diouf glancing a header wide from Shaqiri’s cross in the 22nd minute and Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Wilfried Zaha missing the target for Palace. However, Shaqiri broke the deadlock late in the first half when his free-kick deflected off Loftus-Cheek and flew into the top corner. Victory would have seen Stoke survive in the Premier League for at least another day, but Palace dominated possession after the break and saw their pressure pay off in the 68th minute when McArthur slid past Jack Butland. Zaha and Christian Benteke wasted excellent chances to put Palace ahead before Van Aanholt struck the winner with four minutes remaining.
Ryan Shawcross slid to block Zaha’s pass but only succeeded in playing it through for Van Aanholt, who finished under Butland.
Stoke had hardly threatened in the second half and they could not muster a late push as their fate was sealed. — Skysports
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