PREVIEW: Crystal Palace vs West Bromwich Albion – 13/05/2018
Crystal Palace v West Bromwich Albion
Venue: Selhurst Park
Referee: Jonathan Moss
The final day of the 2017/18 season has finally come, and unfortunately for West Brom, there is no longer anything to fight for. The Baggies were powerless viewers to Southampton’s victory over Swansea on Tuesday night, which doomed them to the fate of relegation to the Championship.
Their form in recent weeks has been far from relegation level. Since the sacking of Pardew and the installment of Darren Moore, they have gone five games unbeaten, winning three of them, having won only one in the previous thirty.
This game is actually the meeting of two of the league in-form teams, with Palace also going five games without suffering a loss. The reverse fixture was a thrilling 0-0 back at the Hawthorns in December, it’s not expected to be the same this time.
Crystal Palace Team News
Joel Ward will be the only doubt after being forced off in the first half of the away game at Stoke. Jason Puncheon and Connor Wickham have been stepping up their efforts in training, and may make a final day push for the bench. But the Eagles will continue to be without long term absentees Scott Dann (knee) and Bakary Sako (ankle).
If Ward has played his last game of the season, then his role will more than likely be filled by Palace’s Young Player of the Year Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who has impressed with his defensive performances against sides like Spurs, Liverpool, and Man United.
West Brom Team News
Other than missing the likes of Gareth Barry (knee) and James Morrison (calf), a full squad of players is available to choose from for Premier League Manager of the Month Darren Moore.
The question is whether Moore sticks with the players that have upped their performances in recent weeks, or if he looks towards next season and incorporate some youngster he may wish to play in the Championship.
West Brom can certainly feel confident with getting three points on Sunday. They go to Selhurst Park having won their previous two visit there, keeping two clean sheets in the process.
Since Palace’s promotion to the Premier League in the 2013/14 season, West Brom are edging the head-to-head, having won four of the nine league meetings (Palace coming out victorious in three).
In the last two matches against West Brom (both away), Palace haven’t conceded a goal, and if they keep a clean sheet again, it would only be the third time they’ve had three successive clean sheets against the same club – QPR (1994-2014), and Aston Villa (2005-14).
Predicted Starting XI
Crystal Palace – Hennessey, Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, van Aanholt, Loftus-Cheek, Cabaye, Milivojevic, McArthur, Zaha, Townsend
West Brom – Foster, Nyom, Dawson, Hegazi, Gibbs, Phillips, Livermore, Brunt, McClean, Rodriguez, Rondon
Crystal Palace 3 – 1 West Brom
With West Brom having nothing to play for but pride, they may play a more attacking game, which could leave spaces in behind the defense for the Palace players to capitalize on the counter. Also with a place in the top ten a real possibility for Palace, they’ll go all out to end the season on a happy note for their fans, especially having gone the first seven games without a win or goal.