Danny Higginbotham: Stoke were relegated from the Premier League due to an identity crisis at the club following Crystal Palace defeat

After finishing either ninth or 11th in their last four seasons, it was difficult to see how they could have done much more under Mark Hughes.

The Potters tried to go to the next level but how much higher could they go?

Eventually, you start to fall backwards.

They lost their home form and that affected them.

Going back to when I was there, we were up ’n at ’em — but they have lost what made them strong.


MANUEL LANZINI and Marko Arnautovic have struck up a brilliant understanding at West Ham.

They have been key to the Hammers beating the drop.

David Moyes was originally forced to play Arnautovic up front due to injury problems but the Austrian and Argentine Lanzini have become a serious attacking threat.

It is vital the club keep hold of both players if they are to avoid another relegation battle next season.

While Stoke got £24million for Arnautovic, they might have beaten the drop if he’d stayed.


SOUTHAMPTON will probably need to win at Swansea tomorrow if they are to stay in the top flight.

Carlos Carvalhal’s Swans look to have an easier game on the final day when Stoke are the visitors, while Saints host champs Manchester City. Huddersfield may still go down but Saints and Swansea could be in a straight shootout.

Southampton will have felt sick to concede a late equaliser at Everton but need to pick themselves up.

But going all-out at the Liberty will play into their opponents’ hands — just as Arsenal and Liverpool have found out this season.


BRIGHTON got a fantastic result against Manchester United on Friday night to secure their Premier League status for next season.

Their success has been built on defensive resilience and incredible work ethic.

They might have struggled for goals during periods of the campaign but they have conceded six fewer goals than any other side in the bottom half of the league.

Boss Chris Hughton just goes about his business with little fuss and should get more praise for his work at The Amex.


DARREN MOORE has done a great job at West Brom and should be seriously considered as full-time boss.

Albion are defending much better and look organised.

You’d still expect them to go down but Moore deserves credit for giving them hope.

They have beaten United and Spurs and drawn with Liverpool in a five-game unbeaten run since Moore took charge.

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