Danny Gabbidon

Premier League Relegation Watch: Clubs primed to go down (Matchweek 30)

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Matchweek 30 saw massive wins by Fulham and West Brom meaning only seven points separate 12th placed West Ham United from last placed Fulham. The Premier League relegation race is shaping up to come down to the wire with multiple clubs vying for safety.

Here’s the relegation watch currently stands:

source: Getty Images12. WEST HAM UNITED 31 PTS (29 PLD)

Remaining Matches (9): Manchester United (H); Hull City (H); Sunderland (A); Liverpool (H); Arsenal (A); Crystal Palace (H); West Brom (A); Tottenham (H); Manchester City (A)

League Form: WWWWLL

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Marco Boriello, shin (no return date); Joey O’Brien, shoulder (April 14th

Vegas odds to be relegated: 16/1

Verdict: West Ham ripped off four straight wins in February but have since lost two straight to Everton (0-1) and Stoke City (1-3), respectively. But with key players (Andy Carroll and Winston Reid) now healthy, the Hammers should have no problem reaching the 40 point mark.

source: Getty Images13. HULL CITY 30 PTS (28 PLD)

Remaining Matches (9): West Bromwich Albion (H); West Ham United (A); Stoke City (A); Swansea City (H); Manchester United (A); Arsenal (H); Fulham (A); Aston Villa (A); Everton (H)

League Form: DWLWLL

Other Competitions: FA Cup (v. Sheffield United on March 13th)

Injuries: Robbie Brady, groin (no return date); Paul McShane, ankle (no return date), Joe Dudgeon, knee (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 12/1

Verdict: Despite losing two straight, Hull City have enjoyed a fantastic Premier League season and few will have the Tigers pegged to go down. With a favorable end of the season schedule and a relatively healthy roster, expect Hull to be in the league come next August.

source:  14. SWANSEA CITY 29 PTS (29 PLD)

Remaining Matches (9): Everton (A); Arsenal (A); Norwich City (H); Hull City (A); Chelsea (H); Newcastle United (A); Aston Villa (H); Southampton (H); Sunderland (A)

League Form: LWDLDL

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Nathan Dyer, ankle (March 22nd); Jonjo Shelvey, hamstring (March 22nd); Kyle Bartley, hamstring (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 10/1

Verdict: These are troubling times at the Liberty Stadium as Swansea find themselves with the second worst form record in the league having taking only five of a possible 18 points from their last six matches. The free-fall can be blamed on a number of things, namely an injury plagued season, participation in the Europa League and managerial ineptitude.

Making matters worse for the Swans is their end of the season schedule which boasts difficult fixtures with Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle and Southampton as well as potential relegation six-pointers with Norwich and Sunderland.

source: Getty Images15. NORWICH CITY 29 PTS (30 PLD)

Remaining Matches (8): Sunderland (H); Swansea City (A); West Bromwich Albion (H); Fulham (A); Liverpool (H); Manchester United (A); Chelsea (A); Arsenal (H)

League Form: DLWLDL

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Leroy Fer, hamstring (no return date); Jonas Gutierrez, calf (March 22nd); Michael Turner, hamstring (March 22nd); Elliot Bennett, knee (April 5th)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 7/4

Verdict: If anyone who is currently safe is going to get relegated, Norwich City looks the most likely. The Canaries put in a lopsided effort at Southampton this past weekend, coming back from 3-0 down to lose 4-2. With only eight matches to play, Chris Hughton’s side must take points in their next four matches, all of which are winnable. After that, however, it’s curtains for Norwich who end the season against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

source: Getty Images16. WEST BROMWICH ALBION 28 PTS (29 PLD)

Remaining Matches (9): Hull City (A); Cardiff City (H); Norwich City (A); Tottenham (H); Manchester City (A); West Ham United (H); Arsenal (A); Sunderland (H); Stoke City (H)

League Form: DLDDLW

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Morgan Amalfitano, knock (no return date); Chris Brunt, knee (April 21st); Billy Jones, hamstring (March 29th); Claudio Yacob, hamstring (March 22nd); Diego Lugano, knee (April 5th)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 7/2

Verdict: Such a massive win for West Brom this past weekend. To go into the Liberty Stadium and come from 0-1 down to win 2-1 will be a huge boost to the confidence of Pepe Mel’s side. The Albion remains banged up with a number of key injuries but with six of their final nine contests against clubs outside the Top 10, staying up looks to be in the cards.

source: Getty Images17. CRYSTAL PALACE 28 PTS (29 PLD)

Remaining Matches (9): Newcastle United (A); Chelsea (H); Cardiff City (A); Aston Villa (H); Everton (A); West Ham United (A); Manchester City (H); Liverpool (H); Fulham (A)

League Form: LWLDLD

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Danny Gabbidon, knock (March 22nd); Barry Bannan, illness (March 22nd); Marouane Chamakh, hamstring (March 29th)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 3/2

Verdict: Winless in their last four, Palace need to be careful. They worked hard to ascend out of the relegation zone after Tony Pulis was appointed but the Eagles are now finding it difficult to see out the spring. And with a challenging end of the season schedule pitting Palace against Newcastle, Chelsea, Everton, City and Liverpool the points won’t come easy for the Selhurst Park faithful.

source: Getty Images18. SUNDERLAND 24 PTS (27 PLD)

Remaining Matches (11): Norwich City (A); Liverpool (A); West Ham United (H); Tottenham (A); Everton (H); Manchester City (A); Chelsea (A); Cardiff City (H); Manchester United (A); West Bromwich Albion (H); Swansea City (H)

League Form: DWWLLD

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Steven Fletcher, ankle (no return date); Keiren Westwood, shoulder (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 7/4

Verdict: Of the three teams currently in the relegation zone, Sunderland feel like the most likely to escape. With 11 matches left to play (and most of those being favorable matchups) and having reduced their workload by exiting from the FA Cup, Gus Poyet’s side will have no excuses if they go down. The health of Steven Fletcher will be a factor but with Jozy Altidore available and Ignacio Scocco added to the strike ranks this winter, the Black Cats still have options up top to get the job down.

source: Getty Images19. CARDIFF CITY 25 PTS (30 PLD)

Remaining Matches (9): Liverpool (H); West Bromwich Albion (A); Crystal Palace (H); Southampton (A); Stoke City (H); Sunderland (A); Newcastle United (A); Chelsea (H)

League Form: LDLLWL

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Ben Turner, knock (no return date); Andrew Taylor, knock (no return date); Mark Hudson, hamstring (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 1/4

Verdict: Vegas has Cardiff as the most likely squad to be relegated and for good reason – the Bluebirds are in the worst form of any club in the league and have only eight matches to play. If there are upsides to Cardiff’s situation it’s that the remaining matches are against favorable opponents and the squad is in good health. That said, talk to any pundit covering the Premier League and he’ll tell you Cardiff is destined to be playing in the Championship next season.

source: Getty Images20. FULHAM 24 PTS (30 PLD)

Remaining Matches (8): Manchester City (A); Everton (H); Aston Villa (A); Norwich City (H); Tottenham Hotspur (A); Hull City (H); Stoke City (A); Crystal Palace (H)

League Form: DLDLLW

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Kostas Mitroglu, knee (no return date); Ashkan Dejagah, groin (no return date); Giorgos Karagounis, muscle injury (no return date); Scott Parker, knee (March 22nd); Damien Duff, knock (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 2/7

Verdict: Fulham is only slightly more likely than Cardiff to make it out of the relegation zone. Like the Bluebirds, the Cottagers don’t have any games in hand on their opponents. But Felix Magath’s team did play quite well this past weekend, defeating Newcastle 1-0 at the Cottage. It’s a win that they’ll look to gain some motivation from although Manchester City and Everton will be difficult tasks over the next two weeks.

When April comes, however, the fixture list becomes quite favorable for Fulham with matches against Villa, Norwich, Hull, Stoke and Palace. So while the situation is bleak for Fulham a thin line hope still remains.

Premier League Transfer Needs: What all 20 teams need before the window shuts

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With not long to go until the January transfer window slams shut, it’s time to assess what each Premier League team needs. Some need to splash the cash big time in their quest to make the top four, or stay up, while other may resist the urge to spend.

All this week at ProSoccerTalk, we’ve been breaking down the transfer needs of every PL team. 

Now we’ve put the transfer desires of all 20 teams in one place, as this post is brimming with the business each club should do.

Joe Prince-Wright and Mike Prindiville break the transfer needs down, as time is running out…

ARSENAL

Arsenal’s sole need is for a striker. Olivier Giroud has been a revelation but overuse is a worry and with winger-come-striker Theo Walcott out for the season and Nicholas Bendtner being, well, Nicholas Bendtner, Arsenal need to add a new piece up top. Tha assumes, of course, that the Gunners want to win a title (Champions League or Premier League).

Famously content with his players, there’s no guarantee Arsene Wenger will bring someone in. If he does un-latch the money clip, Wenger could do the business on the cheap – Wolfburg’s Diego (free) and Fulham’s Dimitar Berbatov (£2m) – or on the Mesut Ozil type level – Schalke’s Julian Draxler (£37m) and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa (£32m). Of course, attacking midfielders like Diego and Draxler would be striker-converts but would nevertheless be major boosts to Arsenal’s front line. MP

ASTON VILLA

Despite their vanilla form over the first half of the season Aston Villa are actually a squad with decent depth. Having already brought in striker Grant Holt and full-back Ryan Bertrand on loan, Villa now set their sites on a center midfielder with gusto. Karim El Ahmadi, Ashley Westwood and Fabian Delph form a strong core of center midfielders but none possess true creative, attacking talent.

Paul Lambert was rumored to be hot on the tails of Belgian midfielder Steven Defour, who the Villa manager dismissed talk of swooping for last week, and Norwich City playmaker Wes Hoolahan, who Lambert previously coached at Carrow Road. MP

CARDIFF CITY

Suddenly Cardiff find themselves in last place and in desperate need of some new blood. With only 17 goals through 22 matches, a striker would be nice and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer had hoped to land Mame Diouf from Hannover only for the Bundesliga club to refuse selling him. The new manager has already signed Heerenveen attacking midfielder Magnus Wolff Eikrem Molde and  versatile midfielder Matts Moeller Daehli.

source: Getty Images
Chelsea add Egyptian winger Mohammed Salah.

Midfield is another area the Bluebirds could use some spice and Solksjaer would be happy to take Ravel Morrison off West Ham’s hands but luring the former Manchester United player to Wales is proving difficult. Solksjaer has done plenty of business in the window, as Norwegian Jo Inge Berget, Stoke City’s Kenwyne Jones and Manchester United duo Wilfried Zaha and Fabio all signed in the final week of the window. Peter Odemwingie went to Stoke as part of the deal for Jones. MP

CHELSEA

With 20+ players on loan and having already bought attacking midfielder Bertrand Traoré (already sent on loan to Vitesse) and Benfica’s midfield destroyer Nemanja Matic (£22m), the Blues are one of the few Premier League clubs all set for a spring time run. But after agreeing to sell Juan Mata to Manchester United, Jose Mourinho couldn’t resist having another pop in the market, buying Egyptian winger Mohammed Salah from FC Basel for $17 million. MP

CRYSTAL PALACE

With the worst goals-per-game ratio in the Premier League, a striker is an obvious need but after missing out on former Everton striker Nikica Jelavic (to Hull City) and Carlton Cole (re-signed at West Ham) their options have dwindled. Stoke City striker Peter Crouch remains on Tony Pulis‘ radar as does Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis and Chelsea’s Demba Ba, who would arrive at Selhurst Park on loan.

Damien Delaney and Danny Gabbidon have formed a remarkably strong center-back partnership but defensive depth will be key if the Eagles are to avoid relegation. Look for Tony Pulis to bolster the back line with a move for a player with Premier League experience. Blackburn defender Scott Dann would certainly fit the bill. MP

MORE: Transfer needs – Arsenal, Aston Villa, Cardiff, Chelsea, Crystal Palace

EVERTON

One striker and another versatile defender who can be used as cover. The Toffees lost Jelavic and could lose John Heitinga and I’m assuming Martinez will be looking for replacements. The signing of Aiden McGeady is a good one, and another attacking options should be Everton’s priority if they’re going to make their Champions League dream a reality. A loan deal for Monaco striker Lacina Traore will help massively with that, as the top four beckons for a young and talented Toffees side. JPW

FULHAM

Most Fulham fans would argue a clean sweep is necessary, but the area that needs must help is defense. The likes of Philippe Senderos and Fernando Amorebieta have struggled this season and the Cottagers need to stop leaking a bucket load of goals. If they can do that they have offensive weapons that can hurt most teams. JPW

source: Getty Images
Traore has joined Everton on loan from Monaco. the giant forward could hold the key to a top four finish.

HULL CITY

The Tigers are pretty set after doing their business early in the window. I would’ve said they needed a top striker to help with their scoring problems, and Steve Bruce went out and bought two last week in Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long. Job done. JPW

LIVERPOOL

I truly believe Liverpool need one more striker to really turn them into a top four contender. But I don’t think they will land one. Defensive reinforcements would be nice, as the likes of Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure have been liabilities as times this season. In midfield they are set, although a tricky winger may tempt Rodgers as summer signings Victor Moses and Iago Aspas haven’t shone thus far.

The Reds look to have missed out on Salah, as Chelsea nipped in with a last-minute bid for the Egyptian winger. JPW

MANCHESTER CITY

City are pretty set in every position. But if they wanted to strengthen in one position, it may be left back. Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov have both been sharing the role for most of the season but neither have looked that great. Going forward they both add a lot, but defensively they leave plenty to be desire. Maybe City will splash the cash to make sure their squad is absolutely stacked heading into the final stretch. JPW

MORE: Transfer needs – Everton, Fulham, Hull City, Liverpool, Manchester City

source: AP
Mata is finalizing his move to Untied, will he be the catalyst for a Red Devils revival?

MANCHESTER UNITED

Where do we start with the Red Devils? Arguably only four players have done enough to warrant not being replaced this season: David de Gea, Adnan Januzaj, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie. The real problem area is midfield as United tried desperately to bring in a whole host of players in the summer window and failed.

A move for Juan Mata for a club record fee of around $61 million sent out a huge message to everyone that the club backs David Moyes, as the Spanish midfielder will bring a whole new dimension to United’s midfield. A top four spot is dependent on United splashing the cash, and they’ve done that by bringing in Mata. Will more arrive in January? We will have to wait and see, but Moyes’ rebuild has finally got moving. JPW

NEWCASTLE UNITED

No massive needs for Newcastle, as they are banging goals in from all over the pitch and look pretty solid at the back. Keeping hold of the likes of Yohan Cabaye and Tim Krul will be crucial in this window, but adding another striker to compliment Loic Remy would be worthwhile. Dutchman Luuk De Jong is close to a loan move, as Alan Pardew’s side have an outside chance of making the top four.

However it does look as though Cabaye is on his way to Paris Saint-Germain before the window shuts, as the Magpies have had big money bids come in for their French international midfielder and a fee has reportedly been agreed. JPW

NORWICH CITY

The Canaries still need more firepower, after summer signings Gary Hooper, Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Johan Elmander haven’t delivered more goals. Apart from that Norwich are solid across midfield and in defense, and have impressive strength in-depth. But if Chris Hughton’s men want to stave off relegation, a new striker is a must. JPW

SOUTHAMPTON

Much like Newcastle, Southampton only really need to add one player but focus on keeping their star performers at the club. The likes of Luke Shaw, Jay Rodriguez, Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana have all been linked with moves away but Mauricio Pochettino is adamant nobody will leave. A few injuries could see Saints dipping into the loan market, Pochettino knows La Liga well so don’t be surprised if he heads in that direction for a playmaker/defender. JPW

source: Getty Images
Will Yohan Cabaye leave Newcastle in January?

STOKE CITY

The Potters must shed a few off the wage bill before they can bring players in, and Mark Hughes must do that quickly if he’s going to make his squad stronger. Notoriously Stoke always do plenty of business on deadline day, and it will need to be another big window if they aren’t going to get dragged into the relegation battle. One quality new player up front, in midfield and in defense is needed. Stoke did buy USMNT forward Juan Agudelo after work permit issues, but they’ve immediately loaned him out to FC Utrecht in Holland. While Stephen Ireland has sealed a permanent move to the Britannia and striker John Guidetti has arrived on loan from Man City.

Peter Odemwingie arriving from Cardiff in exchange for Kenwyne Jones seems like a decent deal, but the Potters need plenty more business like that in the final few days. JPW

MORE: Transfer needs – Manchester United, Newcastle, Norwich, Southampton, Stoke City

SUNDERLAND

Sunderland needed to strengthen a leaky defense and got down to business early in January, acquiring full-back Marcos Alonso (from Fiorentina) and center-back Santiago Vergini (from Estudiantes). As loanees both players are mere stop-gaps, meaning the Black Cats will reassess the back line come this summer. Argentine goalkeeper Oscar Ustari joined on loaned from Spanish side Almeria as another short-term replacement. On the offensive side of the ball Gus Poyet’s side has quality in Steven Fletcher and a talented group of wingers (Fabio Borini, Emanuel Giaccherini, Seb Larsson, Adam Johnson) but could use a more dependable holding midfielder to provide an alternative to Lee Cattermole.

Ignacio Scocco is close to sealing a switch, as the Black Cats look to add more firepower with the Argentine striker coming in to help with the relegation scrap. MP

SWANSEA CITY

The Swans are in a free-fall and need to add depth if they plan on continuing their Europa League run while avoiding relegation. Wilfried Bony has improved of late but with Michu‘s injury, the Swans should look to bring in another option up top. On the wings, Pablo Hernandez and Nathan Dyer‘s health issues could demand a new player be brought in while the center of the park has been solid with the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Jonathan De Guzman and Jose Canas. Michael Laudrup can’t afford to lose anyone from his defense, especially Ashley Williams, and could use some added strength at right-back where Angel Rangel and Dwight Tiendalli have been average at best.

Laudrup has signed a new striker, as Bolton forward David Ngog has joined on loan for the rest of the season. I’m sure that’s not the type of signing Swans fans were hoping for. While Tom Ince has held talks with the Swans, as the tricky England U-21 winger is set to move on from Blackpool during the window. If he signs for Swansea, it will be a massive boost to the relegation hopes. MP

source: Reuters
Will Spurs add another striker after Defoe moved to TFC?

TOTTENHAM

Spurs arguably have more depth than any club in the Premier League so purchases are unlikely although we may see Tim Sherwood bring in a young striker to replace the loss of Jermain Defoe (to Toronto FC) and add cover to Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto SoldadoMP

WEST HAM UNITED

If West Ham are to avoid relegation they must purchase a new striker. Andy Carroll recently returned from injury but the Hammers must provide cover in case the injury-prone Geordie goes down again. In the midfield, holding on to Ravel Morrison is an absolute must while bringing in another creative force to operate behind the strikers could be a good move considering Kevin Nolan‘s underwhelming season and Mo Diame’s new knee injury. At the back, Roger Johnson was brought in earlier this month but has struggled meaning Sam Allardyce would do well to bring in a center-back of proven quality.

The Hammers have added two notable players from Serie A, as Roma striker Marco Borriello and AC Milan midfielder Antonio Nocerino both joined the Upton Park side on loan. MP

WEST BROMWICH ALBION

The Albion made the unpopular decision to sell Shane Long but have cover up top in Saido Berahino, Nicholas Anelka and Victor Anichebe. Pepe Mel’s side could use some strengthening at right-back where Billy Jones has been average at best but money issues will constrict their ability to buy. MP

 MORE: Transfer needs – Sunderland, Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham, West Brom

Premier League Transfer Needs: Arsenal, Villa, Cardiff, Chelsea, Palace

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With just over a week left in the January transfer window, it’s time to assess what each Premier League team needs. Some need to splash the cash big time in their quest to make the top four, or stay up, while other may resist the urge to spend.

All this week at ProSoccerTalk, we’re breaking down the transfer needs of every PL team. Here’s the first batch.

ARSENAL

Arsenal’s sole need is for a striker. Olivier Giroud has been a revelation but overuse is a worry and with winger-come-striker Theo Walcott out for the season and Nicholas Bendtner being, well, Nicholas Bendtner, Arsenal need to add a new piece up top. Tha assumes, of course, that the Gunners want to win a title (Champions League or Premier League).

Famously content with his players, there’s no guarantee Arsene Wenger will bring someone in. If he does un-latch the money clip, Wenger could do the business on the cheap – Wolfburg’s Diego (free) and Fulham’s Dimitar Berbetov (£2m) – or on the Mesut Ozil type level – Schalke’s Julian Draxler (£37m) and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa (£32m). Of course, attacking midfielders like Diego and Draxler would be striker-converts but would nevertheless be major boosts to Arsenal’s front line.

ASTON VILLA

Despite their vanilla form over the first half of the season Aston Villa are actually a squad with decent depth. Having already brought in striker Grant Holt and full-back Ryan Bertrand on loan, Villa now set their sites on a center midfielder with gusto. Karim El Ahmadi, Ashley Westwood and Fabian Delph form a strong core of center midfielders but none possess true creative, attacking talent.

Paul Lambert was rumored to be hot on the tails of Belgian midfielder Steven Defour, who the Villa manager dismissed talk of swooping for last week, and Norwich City playmaker Wes Hoolahan, who Lambert previously coached at Carrow Road.

CARDIFF CITY

Suddenly Cardiff find themselves in last place and in desperate need of some new blood. With only 17 goals through 22 matches, a striker would be nice and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer had hoped to land Mame Diouf from Hannover only for the Bundesliga club to refuse selling him. The new manager has already signed Heerenveen attacking midfielder Magnus Wolff Eikrem Molde and  versatile midfielder Matts Moeller Daehli.

Midfield is another area the Bluebirds could use some spice and Solksjaer would be happy to take Ravel Morrison off West Ham’s hands but luring the former Manchester United player to Wales is proving difficult. Some sharps also see Cardiff as the likely loan destination of Wilfried Zaha given Solksjaer’s connections to Old Trafford.

CHELSEA

With 20+ players on loan and having already bought attacking midfielder Bertrand Traoré (already sent on loan to Vitesse) and Benfica’s midfield destroyer Nemanja Matic (£22m), the Blues are one of the few Premier League clubs all set for a spring time run.

CRYSTAL PALACE

With the worst goals-per-game ratio in the Premier League, a striker is an obvious need but after missing out on former Everton striker Nikica Jelavic (to Hull City) and Carlton Cole (re-signed at West Ham) their options have dwindled. Stoke City striker Peter Crouch remains on Tony Pulis’ radar as does Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis and Chelsea’s Demba Ba, who would arrive at Selhurst Park on loan.

Damien Delaney and Danny Gabbidon have formed a remarkably strong center-back partnership but defensive depth will be key if the Eagles are to avoid relegation. Look for Tony Pulis to bolster the back line with a move for a player with Premier League experience. Blackburn defender Scott Dann would certainly fit the bill.

Crystal Palace 1-0 Stoke City: Palace out of the relegation zone (video)

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Tony Pulis was triumphant against his former club, with Crystal Palace snatching a vital victory at the expense of Stoke City. The goal from Jason Puncheon proved sufficient, with the three points pulling Palace out of the relegation zone.

The hosts got things started quickly at Selhurst Park, although they probably didn’t mean to take their chances at both ends. In the 5th minute, Joel Ward got on the end of a cross from Yannick Bolasie, but placed his header just wide. Moments later, Palace defender Danny Gabbidon very nearly put the ball past his own keeper when trying to clear the danger.

Stoke, much more so than under Pulis, were set to go for it as well, with Marc Wilson forcing Julian Speroni into a save after a free kick from Charlie Adam. Shortly thereafter, leftback Erik Pieters got himself forward and slammed in a shot, but could only get the ball into the side netting.

The visitors kicked off the second half with another great chance. Jonathan Walters headed on to Charlie Adam, who evaded the Palace defenders before putting in a shot from distance. The midfielder came within inches – and ultimately, Stoke were left to rue the missed chance.

Not five minutes later, Palace took the lead – and kept it. Jason Puncheon pounced to steal the ball from Stoke and went for goal himself, slotting the ball into the bottom left corner.

Surprisingly enough, Pulis’s side didn’t cease their attack after the goal, with a wide variety of players looking to get a second for Palace. Ward came close again, forcing a save from Jack Butland. The Stoke keeper had to work quickly to stop Marouane Chamakh from scoring the rebound, and then to deny another from Puncheon.

Stoke did everything they could to grab a point at the death, to the point of throwing Ryan Shawcross forward in hopes that the defender would somehow knock one in. Adam forced a save in added time, but that was as close as the Potters could come.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Gabbidon, Delaney, Parr, Bolasie (Moxey 86), Ward, Jedinak, Puncheon, Guédioura (O’Keefe 68), Chamakh (Wilbraham 86)

Goals: Puncheon 51′

Stoke City: Butland, Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters, Whelan (Ireland 58), Nzonzi, Adam, Walters (Guidetti 79), Assaidi (Arnautović 72), Crouch

Premier League Roundup: Liverpool, Man City, Man United and Newcastle keep winning (VIDEO)

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Wow, take a deep breath guys, we have a lot to break down in the Saturday roundup, as Week 17 threw some incredible results our way.

The weekend before Christmas gets most people excited… and this year is no different, thanks to goals galore, drama and some massive victories in the Premier League.

(MORE: Premier League Standings)

So, in case you missed any of the action from Saturday’s seven scintillating games in England’s top-flight, here’s everything you need to know wrapped up in a perfect little gift box for you.

Match recaps, analysis and video highlights are coming your way. Enjoy the unraveling, as you sift through another mad, yet wonderful, day of PL matches.

Crystal Palace 0-3 Newcastle United

The Magpies were dazzling in the wind and rain at Selhurst Park, as Alan Pardew’s side are just three points out of the top four. Newcastle went ahead thanks to Yohan Cabaye’s cool finish, and an own goal from Danny Gabbidon doubled their lead before the break. After the interval Palace tried to get back into the game, but Hatem Ben Arfa’s late penalty kick wrapped up the Toon’s sixth win in their last eight games.

Fulham 2-4 Manchester City

The Citizens went 2-0 up in the first half as Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany both scored to put the away side in a commanding position. However Manuel Pellegrini’s men would throw their advantage away as Kieran Richardson pulled one back, then Kompany scored a bizarre own goal to make it 2-2. Yet the Cottagers hopes of grabbing a superb point were dashed late on as Jesus Navas and James Milner sent City second.

Liverpool 3-1 Cardiff

Another week, another Luis Suarez masterclass. It’s getting far too easy for this guy to rip teams apart and he did just that with two more stunning strikes and an assist on Raheem Sterling’s goal against Cardiff at Anfield. Jordon Mutch’s consolation was all the Bluebirds could muster, as Liverpool went top of the league and Malky Mackay’s future still remains uncertain.

Manchester United 3-1 West Ham

The Red Devils are ominously clicking through the gears as their fourth-straight win in all competitions came courtesy of another fluid attacking display. Danny Welbeck opened the scoring, before Adnan Januzaj cut in from the left to score a beauty. After the break Ashely Young smashed home a stunner to make it 3-0, before Carlton Cole pulled back a consolation for the Hammers.

Stoke City 2-1 Aston Villa

A real battle at the Britannia, as the home side came away with all three points thanks to Peter Crouch’s game-winner. Stoke went ahead through Charlie Adam before Libor Kozak hit back for Villa. As both teams pushed forward for the winner, Geoff Cameron’s stunning right wing cross somehow bounced off Crouch and into the goal. Stoke up to 10th.

Sunderland 0-0 Norwich City

To say this wasn’t one for the purists is putting it lightly. The Black Cats and Canaries hardly put on a footballing feast before the festive period. Jozy Altidore was guilty of missing a good chance and a late red card for Wes Brown saw the Black Cats reduced to 10-men. The Canaries will be happy with a point, while the Mackems are bottom at Christmas… never a good sign.

West Brom 1-1 Hull City

Managerless West Brom battled back to nab a point late in the feisty game against Hull City at the Hawthorns. Matej Vydra struck with five minutes left to make it 1-1, after Jake Livermore had given the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the first half. Whoever replaced Steve Clarke as manager will know one thing… this Baggies has tons of character and is up for the fight.