West Brom aiming to continue their revival against hot and cold Crystal Palace
West Brom 1-1 Crystal Palace
Understandably, West Brom fans won’t be getting too carried away with their first win of the season against bottom club Sheffield United last weekend.
There is a long way to go to ensure safety, and largely they have not appeared up to the standard required so far this season.
Having said that, all good form must start somewhere, so they will be hoping that they can continue picking up points against a Crystal Palace side who have struggled to get any kind of run going themselves of late.
In fact, The Eagles have similar form over their past five matches, three of which have been defeats. They have really missed their talisman, Wilf Zaha, and have struggled in front of goal as a result.
This is a fixture that could go either way, but both sides will be desperate to not lose for a fourth time in five matches.
Form Guide (all comps): DLLLW
Reasons to be cheerful:
Win last weekend will give them great confidence
Will welcome back Livermore and Gibbs after Covid-19
Reasons to be fearful:
Manchester City and Liverpool follow within next few weeks
Have the second worst defensive record in the league
If you look at the stats, West Brom are certainly heading in a better direction of late.
Four of their six points have been earned from their last five matches, with their defensive record considerably improved over that period as well – only four goals conceded in their last four matches versus 14 in the six matches previous.
Veteran defender Branislav Ivanovic has been a significant help in that respect, using his wisdom gained from years at Chelsea to guide the more inexperienced players alongside him.
They will also be able to welcome back Jake Livermore and Kieran Gibbs into the side after both tested positive for Coronavirus recently.
The Baggies won their previous fixture last weekend, however may be happy enough to settle for a draw this time around. Depending on how badly Fulham are beaten by Manchester City, a point may be enough to lift West Brom out of the bottom three.
Star Man – Conor Gallagher
Has shown good form of late, and scored the winner last weekend, so should keep his place in midfield.
Form Guide (all comps): WLWLL
Reasons to be cheerful
Wilf Zaha could be fit to play a part
Unbeaten in last four matches against West Brom
Reasons to be fearful
Lost back to back away matches without scoring
Have Tottenham, Liverpool and Leicester all coming up
Crystal Palace are facing the same old problems that have plagued them for many seasons now – they are too good to go down, but not good enough to challenge for higher positions in the table.
Wilf Zaha’s absence has not helped matters, though he could be fit enough to play a part in this one, albeit perhaps from the bench. Nevertheless, they have struggled to create too many chances of late, scoring in just one of their last four matches recently.
Michi Batshuayi is getting plenty of game time for Palace this season, but is not repaying them with goals – none so far in eight appearances.
Similar to their opponents, they have a tough run of fixtures coming up, but they’ll be very wary of losing for a fourth time in five matches.
Star Man – Jordan Ayew
Is livelier up front than Batshuayi and can be a handful for defenders.
Should be an even contest
Palace could be favourites if Zaha plays
Could end up a draw
Both sides will come out looking for a win, but the longer this goes on at 0-0, the more they’re likely to accept a point and move on.
Zaha could play a role, and maybe come off the bench in the second half. This could spur Palace on to three points, but West Brom have got their tails up and could get something from this.
West Brom 1-1 Crystal Palace