Gameweek 37 of the Premier League was all about the fight for Premier League survival. After Brighton secured their top-flight status on Friday night, West Ham and Crystal Palace also confirmed their safety. Here is what happened in Saturday’s big games:
The Premier League earlier kick-off saw Stoke City host Crystal Palace at the Bet 365 Stadium. A defeat would see the Potters suffer relegation and the Eagles pulled off a 2-1 win in Staffordshire to sink the home side. In the process, Roy Hodgson side moved confirmed their top-flight status.
It took until the 43rd minute for the opening goal. Stoke’s Swiss playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri hit a free-kick that took a big deflection off Eagles midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek and found the top corner.
Palace produced a much-improved second-half display. The Eagles got their reward on 68 minutes, as James McArthur broke from midfield to fire past Jack Butland in the home goal. The Eagles scored their winner on 86 minutes. Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross attempted to block Wilfried Zaha’s pass, but only succeeded in putting Palace full-back Patrick van Aanholt in on goal and the Dutchman kept his cool shooting low under Butland.
The result saw the Potters ten-year association with the top-flight come to an end. However, after looking set for relegation earlier in the season, the Eagles will be playing top-flight football next season after accruing 41 points.
West Ham are now also safe from relegation after a 2-0 defeat of a lacklustre Leicester at the King Power Stadium.
The Irons took the lead on 34 minutes. Marko Arnautovic produced two brilliant touches to find Portuguese star Joao Mario who swept the ball past Leicester’s stand-in goalkeeper Ben Hamer. The Hammers doubled their lead on 64 minutes. Aleksandar Dragovic’s clearance fell for Hammers captain Mark Noble, who volleyed a powerful effort into the roof of the net.
The win means that the visitors will be playing top-flight football next season, as 17th place Swansea and 18th place Southampton go head-to-head in midweek in a massive game. Leicester remain ninth-place in the table and are rather sleepwalking towards the end of another inconsistent Premier League campaign.
Southampton suffered a blow to their survival hopes, as the Saints drew 1-1 with Everton at Goodison Park. Everton midfielder Tom Davies struck a 96th effort that took a heavy deflection of Ryan Bertrand to leave Alex McCarthy helpless. The goal was a massive blow for Mark Hughes side.
Everton had been lacklustre and the south coast side took the lead on 56 minutes. Portuguese full-back Cedric advanced down the right flank and swung a pinpoint cross to the far post to winger Nathan Redmond, who headed past Jordan Pickford in the Everton goal.
The Saints hopes of maintaining the lead suffered a big blow on 85 minutes, as substitute Maya Yoshida saw red for a second bookable offence. However, it looked like Hughes side were set to hold on, until that crucial Davies strike.
The defeat moved out of the relegation zone. However, the Saints only moved above 18th-place Swansea by virtue of goal difference. A midweek clash between the pair at the Liberty Stadium could go a long way to determining who stays in the top-flight. The Saints are now favourites to join West Brom and Stoke in the Championship next season.
Saturday’s other Premier League results:
Bournemouth 1-0 Swansea
Watford 2-1 Newcastle
West Brom 1-0 Tottenham
Who will join Stoke in the Championship next season?