Match ends, Crystal Palace 5, Leicester City 0.
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson says "no-one wants to tempt fate" but thinks the thrashing of 10-man Leicester City at Selhurst Park should have secured the Eagles' Premier League future.
Palace had the match virtually sewn up at half-time after goals from Wilfried Zaha and James McArthur, which both came from fantastic passing moves.
The Foxes upped their intensity early in the second half, but any hopes of a comeback looked out of sight when Marc Albrighton was shown a straight red card for pulling down an onrushing Zaha.
They fell apart in defence and Ruben Loftus-Cheek then Patrick van Aanholt slotted goals past goalkeeper Ben Hamer.
Christian Benteke, on as a late substitute, compounded Leicester's misery when he scored from the spot after being fouled by Harry Maguire.
The result moves Hodgson's side up to 11th, six points clear of the relegation zone with two games to go, although they have played one more match than six teams below them.
"It certainly couldn't have come at a better time," Hodgson told Match of the Day. "It was a really important game for us.
"It's all very well thinking you need one win from the last three games to secure your status, but you have got to get that win."
Asked if Palace were safe, Hodgson added: "I think so. No-one wants to tempt fate too much in that respect, but it would take a lot for a team with 38 points and such a good goal difference as we have to go down.
"If we survive, which I believe we will, it's going to be a very heart-warming occasion for everybody.
"In some way we did expect to get that last win and secure our status, so it's more a relief than celebration."
Leicester, who are ninth, look to be finishing the season with a whimper after picking up only four wins in their past 18 league matches.
This latest result and performance puts more pressure on manager Claude Puel, with speculation already mounting about his future.
- Follow all the post-match reaction from Saturday's Premier League games
- Relive Palace's big win over Leicester
- Ups, downs and European qualification
Hodgson's great escape (nearly)
Since taking over from Frank de Boer in September, when the club were bottom of the table with no points and no goals to their name, Hodgson has steadily turned things around at Selhurst Park.
The former England boss has won nine and drawn 11 of his 32 games in charge, and Saturday's performance against Leicester - in particular their first two goals - showed the positive effect the 70-year-old has had on the team.
Zaha was once again a shining light and he opened the scoring, with his fourth goal in as many games, when he thundered the ball into the top of the net from a McArthur back-heel.
The Ivory Coast international returned the favour when he side-footed across the box to McArthur, who swivelled and struck past Hamer.
Palace continued to push for more in the second half and were able to make the extra man count, earning them their biggest win of the season.
Hodgson said after the game: "I am so proud of the players and happy for them. We have not had an easy time.
"We have shot ourselves in the foot at times but to overcome that and keep going it makes me very proud. It is a testament not just to their ability but their character."
Is Puel in trouble?
It could have been a very different story for Leicester had Jamie Vardy pounced on a loose back pass by Mamadou Sakho inside three minutes, but the Foxes striker was denied by the quick reactions of goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.
The England international then had another first-half chance cleared off the line by Joel Ward, but they were just two of the nine touches he took in the entire game.
Albrighton's sending-off set Leicester back even further and they ran out of substitutes after 50 minutes, as Kelechi Iheanacho and Hamza Choudhury were replaced at half-time, and Wilfred Ndidi was forced off through injury.
Several newspapers have claimed this week that Puel will be let go as part of an overhaul at the King Power Stadium this summer.
Leicester may be tucked safely in mid-table but the manner of this defeat, and their run of four games without a win, means the pressure is on for the Frenchman, who was sacked by Southampton after one season last June.
He refused to be drawn on the speculation after the game, saying: "I pay no attention to it. No comments about it. At the moment it is difficult for my team."
Man of the match - Wilfried Zaha
Zaha in form - the best stats
- Zaha has scored four goals in his past four league games, as many as in his previous 24.
- Only Chris Armstrong (23) has scored more Premier League goals for Palace than Zaha (21, level with Andrew Johnson).
- McArthur scored and assisted in a single top-flight game for only the third time in his career, the first since September 2016.
- Leicester have picked up five red cards in the Premier League this season, more than any other side.
- The Foxes shipped five goals without scoring themselves for the first time in the league since January 2004.
Crystal Palace's final two games come against relegation-threatened Stoke City (5 May, 12:30 BST) and West Brom (13 May, 15:00 BST). Leicester face West Ham at home next Saturday, 5 May (15:00 BST).
- 3van Aanholt
- 18McArthurSubstituted forSchluppat 83'minutes
- 7CabayeBooked at 53mins
- 8Loftus-CheekSubstituted forLeeat 86'minutes
- 10TownsendSubstituted forBentekeat 86'minutes
- 11AlbrightonBooked at 56mins
- 38ChoudhurySubstituted forAdrien Silvaat 45'minutesBooked at 77mins
- 25NdidiSubstituted forDragovicat 51'minutes
- 8IheanachoSubstituted forDiabatéat 45'minutes
- 14Adrien Silva
- Mike Dean
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 5, Leicester City 0.
Foul by Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace).
Demarai Gray (Leicester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Goal! Crystal Palace 5, Leicester City 0. Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the high centre of the goal.
Penalty Crystal Palace. Christian Benteke draws a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty conceded by Harry Maguire (Leicester City) after a foul in the penalty area.
Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Adrien Silva (Leicester City).
Attempt missed. Wes Morgan (Leicester City) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is high and wide to the right.
Substitution, Crystal Palace. Christian Benteke replaces Andros Townsend.
Substitution, Crystal Palace. Lee Chung-yong replaces Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Goal! Crystal Palace 4, Leicester City 0. Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner.
Attempt saved. Jeffrey Schlupp (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Wilfried Zaha.
Substitution, Crystal Palace. Jeffrey Schlupp replaces James McArthur.
Goal! Crystal Palace 3, Leicester City 0. Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Mamadou Sakho with a through ball.
Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Aleksandar Dragovic.
Adrien Silva (Leicester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Fousseni Diabaté (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace).