Eye On The Opposition: Stoke vs Crystal Palace (6/5/2018)

Written by Jack Pierce

If I were a Stoke fan, I think I'd be feeling a little nauseous now. When even a win may not secure your top flight status by the time the weekend finishes, it's time to look for the sick bag.

They've not just found themselves in this position without reason; the prolonging of Mark Hughes' tenure and the bizarre appointment of Paul Lambert can be pointed to if not wanting to scratching too far below the surface but that still won't lessen the disappointment that will surround The Bet365 come 2.20pm tomorrow if they've been beaten. A Palace win will see Stoke drop into the second tier for the first time in a decade because of the fact Southampton and Swansea face off on the last day of the season.

On paper, the squad looks impressive enough. Xhedran Shaqiri, Joe Allen, Kurt Zouma and Jack Butland are all players that most Premier League clubs would like to have the ability to call upon. Unfortunately for Stoke, those four and colleagues just haven't been consistent enough to earn the necessary points to have the club safe from the drop yet. One of the great oddities of football is that whatever happens to Stoke come the end of the season, a selection of their players (who've contributed to a potential relegation) will be sought after by other Premier League clubs. It happens each year with relegated clubs and this will be no different.

In terms of management, the club's chairman has already confirmed that Paul Lambert will be in touch come the first day of next season regardless of which league that match will be in. One win in 13 league games is hardly going to get the fans excited and should relegation be confirmed in the next two games then such a proposed continuation of manager will be greeted with its fair share of disquiet from the stands.

A Palace win would see us right, mathematically. Last week's superb win has taken us to the edge of safety but the idea of winning a match to secure our own safety before others' defeats did it for us is slightly more appetising. Roy Hodgson spoke of the league's integrity when seeing off a question in this week's press conference and given such a response, he won't be accepting anything less than a focussed performance from his players.

If the form of last week is carried into this one then you'd have to fear for Stoke. That said, The Potters will have to give everything they've got because anything left in the dressing room won't count for much afterwards.

What a nervy afternoon it'll be.

Just be grateful it's not our lot on the edge.