'Long may Roy Hodgson's reign continue'

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Premier. League. Safety. SECURED. The result was never in doubt… never ever. I always had confidence we would win that uh-huh. Doubt? Me? No, never! 

6th May 2018

Ok, in all honesty that was not a game I had expected Palace to win. The opening 45 minutes was full of pure, unadulterated dirge. 

Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend up against the league's most physical side struggled with dinked balls to their body. Quite why this was a purposeful tactic is beyond me, as it was quite evident that it was never going to be effective. 

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The first 10 minutes saw Palace create a handful of half chances, but ultimately waste them. Such is the Palace way against a team which has failed to win any of their last 13 games. 

But then came the hammer blow. As Stoke pressured us and began to be the more dominant side things changed. Every time a Palace player went down injured they jeered mercilessly. Every single decision from referee Martin Atkinson which went in Palace's favour was bemoaned.

“You're not fit to referee” belted the Potters supporters. To their credit, they did everything they could to create an atmosphere and lift their team. 

Then Ruben Loftus-Cheek stupidly fouled an attacker and Xherdan Shaqiri duly stepped up to fire an unstoppable free-kick into the top corner. 

The second half was much the same for a long period. Palace constantly mishit passes and made poor decisions when in promising positions. Stoke failed to really create many chances in the second half but were threatening nonetheless. 

As time ticked on, things started to change again. Momentum shifted back in Palace's favour. Something seemed to have clicked. Then Zaha won the ball in the centre of the pitch, ran at the defence and helped create space.

Loftus-Cheek joined him and received an excellent through ball before laying it once more on the overlap to James McArthur, who tucked it in. Cue pandemonium in the away end. 

The winner looked possible and then it came. Patrick van Aanholt found himself one-on-one with Jack Butland and fired past the England goalkeeper. Cue even more pandemonium. Laters, Stoke. 

I can't get enough of James McArthur

Neil Warnock personally signed McArthur from Wigan Athletic for a reported initial £5.5million, rising to £7.5miilion. It was a fair whack back in 2014, but seemed a reasonable fee. But a reasonable fee it was not. A sensational piece of business it was. 

The box-to-box midfielder has been integral in recent seasons. Even though he spent a spell out of the team he came back and improved. Then, despite being pushed out wide, he has been absolutely brilliant this season. 

Roy Hodgson is the King

Zero points, zero goals and zero hope after seven games. Seven painful games. The worst ever start to a Premier League season.

Yet, somehow, he has secured Premier League safety. As it stands Palace are 11th, only behind 10th placed Newcastle on goal difference.

What an incredible achievement from an incredible manager. Yet he is still humble. Long may his reign continue.

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