Swansea City 1-2 Stoke City: Swans relegated

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  • Swansea relegated after seven-year stay
  • Swans finish in 18th place 
  • Stoke finish in 19th with relegation already confirmed

Swansea lost 2-1 against Stoke City at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday with the South Wales side relegated from the Premier League after a seven-year stay.

The Swans took the lead via Andy King but Stoke scored twice in the first half through Badou Ndiaye and Peter Crouch to seal a comeback win and just their second victory under Paul Lambert. Xherdan Shaqiri misses a penalty in the second half as Stoke eased to victory.

With the win Stoke finish in 19th, level on points with Swansea in 18th but five goals worse off in goal differential.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Stoke were forced into an early change as former Swansea midfielder Joe Allen was forced off and Darren Fletcher replaced him.

Xherdan Shaqiri whipped in a cross which Lukas Fabianski punched clear and the other end there was an almighty goalmouth scramble with Jack Butland saving and several blocks from the Stoke defense keeping Swansea out.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Moments later King put Swansea ahead as Andre Ayew nodded the ball into his path and he calmly slotted home. The chances kept coming for Swansea as Wayne Routledge then went close with Stoke sinking back towards their own goal.

Before the break Stoke were level as a counter saw Ndiaye get free in-behind and he lobbed home a wonderful effort to make it 1-1. And it got better for the Potters as Crouch headed home a free kick from the left to make it 2-1.

Jordan Ayew curled a free kick inches wide just before the break but the Swans were heading for the drop.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

In the second half Ayew went close again as Stoke sat back and soaked up pressure but Swansea had simply ran out of steam.

Stoke missed a penalty as Fabianski denied Shaqiri after a handball call in the box and Swansea just couldn’t find an equalizer.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

At the final whistle the likes of Leon Britton and Fabianski were in tears as Swansea were relegated on the final day.

Judging the Premier League’s in-season managerial changes

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Stoke City, Swansea City, and now Watford have all made managerial changes in the last month, and await the long-term response of their players to new bosses Paul Lambert (so far, so good), Carlos Carvalhal (mixed, but a win), and probably Javi Gracia, respectively.

That means 40 percent of Premier League clubs have ditched their Opening Day bosses this season. Some were overdue, others were debatable, and the latest — Watford’s sacking of Marco Silva after denying Everton’s pursuit of the boss — is a real head scratcher.

[ MORE: Watford fires Silva, blames Everton ]

How have the moves worked so far?

Crystal Palace
Frank De Boer — 0W-4L
Roy Hodgson — 6W-7D-7L

Hodgson is actually on pace to outdo Sam Allardyce‘s 8W-2D-11L campaign to save Palace’s 2016-17 season. FDB’s short-lived campaign is difficult to judge, his lone win coming in the League Cup against Championship competition, but there’s little debate as to whether Hodgson’s discipline has worked at Selhurst Park.

Everton
Ronald Koeman — 2W-2D-5L
David Unsworth (caretaker) — 2W-2D-1L
Sam Allardyce — 3W-4D-3L

Everton’s entire season has been the same tale: beat the lower half clubs but fail to meet expectations against almost anyone of merit. That’s taken a dive in recent weeks, as Allardyce has drawn West Brom twice and lost at Bournemouth. Jury’s out, and Allardyce has a lot to prove as another team brings him in and spends dough on his behalf.

Leicester City
Craig Shakespeare — 1W-3D-4L
Michael Appleton (caretaker) — 1W
Claude Puel — 7W-4D-4L

It’s now two-straight seasons of poor starts dooming the Leicester City manager, and Shakespeare understandably did not get patience considering the Foxes fired the architect of their stored PL run in Claudio Ranieri (who has Nantes fifth place in Ligue 1). Puel got a rough ride from expectation-heavy Saints fans, who’d probably love to have him back right now. This is an unqualified success, and Leicester may just make it back to Europe.

Swansea City
Paul Clement — 3W-3D-12L
Leon Britton (player manager) — 1D-1L
Carlos Carvalhal — 1W-1D-1L

It’s hard to gauge whether Carvalhal was the right hire, but Swans’ record has improved in the five matches since he was fired and the lone losses are to Liverpool and Spurs. The firing, it seems, was the right call.

West Brom
Tony Pulis — 2W-4D-6L
Gary Megson (caretaker) — 2D
Alan Pardew — 1W-4D-4L

The wins still need to come, but West Brom do look a more promising side and Alan Pardew’s desire to play two strikers certainly makes for better entertainment than Tony Pulis’ unit. Like Everton, the jury is still out. If we had to judge, we’d say it’s the right move for a fan base which prefers a more fashionable style of play (but also prefers being in the Premier League).

West Ham
Slaven Bilic — 2W-3D-6L
David Moyes — 4W-4D-4L

So far, Moyes is doing wonders for his reputation while performing feats that Everton is still seeking from Allardyce; West Ham has spent some money, and Moyes is getting performances out of Marko Arnautovic and using his width well (Arthur Masuaku has been impressive at full back).

Swansea City appoints Carlos Carvalhal as new manager

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Just days after he was sacked by Championship side Sheffield Wednesday, Swansea City has hired Carlos Carvalhal as its new permanent manager, the club confirmed on Thursday.

The 52-year-old Portuguese manager has formerly been in charge of Besiktas and Sporting CP, but has never managed in the top flight of a Big 4 league. Carvalhal brought Sheffield Wednesday to the Championship playoffs in each of the past two years, but after failing to achieve promotion either time, he was fired on Christmas Eve with the club in 14th in the table.

The official release did not explicitly say if Carvalhal will be ready to take charge of the team for Saturday’s match against Watford, but it hinted that h will take over for player/interim coach Leon Britton immediately, saying “The Portuguese agreed the deal late last night and travelled straight to Swansea overnight to meet his new squad and take training this morning.He replaces Paul Clement, who left the club a fortnight ago, and takes over the managerial duties from Leon Britton, who had taken caretaker charge for the last two games.”

Clement reportedly was on hand to watch Swansea take on Liverpool on Boxing Day, getting a first-hand account of the issues he faces in their 5-0 defeat.

“We felt we needed to get the managerial situation resolved as soon as possible and while the timing is not always perfect, we can look forward to the second half of the campaign with renewed optimism,” said Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins in the official release. “Carlos’ time at Sheffield Wednesday, which included securing two consecutive play-off places, highlighted that he has great character and personality to lead the squad and the football club, which is vital at such a crucial time.”

Jenkins admitted Carvalhal has a “big challenge ahead of him.”

Carvalhal becomes Swansea City’s fifth permanent manager in the last two years, following Garry Monk, Francesco Guidolin, Bob Bradley, and Paul Clement.

Watch Live: Liverpool vs. Swansea City

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Liverpool can pull back into the Top Four with a win over basement-dwelling Swansea City on Boxing Day at Anfield on Tuesday (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain starts with Mohamed Salah, Philippe Coutinho, and Roberto Firmino for Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds, while Leon Britton tabs Oliver McBurnie to play up top his Welsh side.

LINEUPS

Liverpool: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Klavan, Robertson, Can, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Salah, Coutinho, Firmino. Subs: Karius, Gomez, Lovren, Milner, Lallana, Mane, Solanke.

Swansea City: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Carroll, Mesa, Fer, Routledge, Ayew, McBurnie. Subs: Nordfeldt, van der Hoorn, Rangel, Dyer, Clucas, Sanches, Abraham.

Premier League Preview: Liverpool vs. Swansea City

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  • Swansea has only won once at Anfield in PL play – last year
  • The last 9 PL matches between Liverpool and Swansea has seen 35 goals
  • Liverpool has not lost on Boxing Day since 1982 vs. Manchester United

Liverpool is one of three teams in a dogfight for the fourth spot in the Premier League table, and things are heating up on Boxing Day. The Reds host 20th-placed Swansea City at Anfield (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com) with a chance to at the least keep pace with Tottenham and Arsenal.

The Reds are coming off a wild 3-3 draw against Arsenal which, following a pair of clean sheets against Bournemouth and West Brom, the defense reverted back to old habits despite dominating the game for long spells. Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool has “obvious problems” in defense, ones that Swansea will look to capitalize on. However, Liverpool has fared much better this campaign against the bottom half of the table than they did last season.

Swansea, meanwhile, plays three of its next four matches away from home (four of its next five if you count the FA Cup match at Wolves) and will need to pick up points wherever possible to close the gap towards safety – currently four points. Leon Britton, who took charge of Swansea’s draw with Crystal Palace, will remain as interim manager for the trip to Anfield.

Team news

Liverpool: Out – Jordan Henderson (hamstring), Alberto Moreno (ankle), Marko Grujic (finger), Joel Matip (muscle), Nathaniel Clyne (back), Adam Bogdan (knee).

Swansea City: Out – Kyle Naughton (groin), Wilfried Bony (hamstring), Ki Sung-Yueng (calf), Kyle Bartley (knee). QuestionableLeroy Fer (back).

What they’re saying

Jurgen Klopp on drawing matches this year: “The draw [against Arsenal] is really not good, but it’s good because again we were the better side in draw number eight, and we should have won like all the other draws we had. So that’s…in development, even though nobody wants to hear that, it’s a very important thing, that’s a very important thing. In a very difficult league, performance-wise we are very consistent so far.”

Leon Britton on the permanent managerial position: “The fans have been great with me, as player or manager, you could hear them being very vocal which I appreciate, but in terms of the job, nothing has changed and I’m not looking for the job full time. [Management] need[s] to make the right decision, make sure it’s clear what they want, whether that’s before Liverpool, after Liverpool or in January. They have to make sure they take their time and get the right man.”

Prediction

As mentioned earlier, Liverpool has been quite good against the bottom half of the table, most recently holding Bournemouth and West Brom both goalless, plus beating Brighton 5-1 and Stoke City 3-0. It’s hard to look past a free-flowing Liverpool in this game, by a 4-1 scoreline in a game that could get out of hand late.