MX23RW : Thursday, September 16 18:47:06| >> :60:3539:3539:
Feb 27, 2016 at 5.30pm UK at The Hawthorns
West BromWest Bromwich Albion
3-2
Crystal Palace
Gardner (12'), Dawson (20'), Berahino (31')
FT(HT: 3-0)
Wickham (48', 80')

Preview: West Bromwich Albion vs. Crystal Palace

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace at The Hawthorns.

Crystal Palace will attempt to end their long wait for a Premier League win, which currently stands at nine matches, when they travel to out-of-form West Bromwich Albion in Saturday's late kickoff in England's top flight.

While Palace have struggled for points in 2016, the same can also be said for West Brom, who have won just two of their last 11 games in all competitions, which has led to supporter unrest.


West Brom

Tony Pulis manager of West Bromwich Albion looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion at Selhurst Park on October 3, 2015© Getty Images

Tony Pulis's main task this season would have been to secure West Brom another campaign of Premier League football. The Baggies are indeed on course to avoid the bottom three once again, but all is not well at The Hawthorns. The supporters want a little bit more for their money and would have been hugely disappointed with the FA Cup exit at the hands of Championship side Reading last time out.

That clash against Reading also brought an unsavoury incident involving Chris Brunt, with the Baggies midfielder caught just beneath the eye with a coin thrown from one of his side's supporters.

West Brom were also thumped 3-0 at Norwich City in the League Cup earlier this season, but it is difficult to be too critical of their league form. Indeed, they will enter this match off the back of an impressive 1-0 victory at Everton last time out. That result saw the Baggies jump into 14th position in the table and they are eight points clear of the bottom three.

What's more, just four points separate West Brom from ninth-place Watford, which is an indication of the type of season it has been. Eight wins, eight draws and 10 defeats have brought the Baggies 32 points, and three more victories might well be enough to avoid any threat of relegation in the final month or two.

Pulis's side have won just two of their last 11 games in all competitions, however, and only Aston Villa (20) have scored fewer league goals than West Brom this season. The fact that Saido Berahino is still struggling to make the first-choice Premier League XI is difficult for the supporters to understand, especially considering the struggles surrounding their other strikers.

West Brom have some very tough fixtures to come - facing Leicester City, Manchester United and Arsenal in their three after this match - which places more emphasis on collecting all three points against an out-of-form Palace side this weekend.

Recent form: DLDDLW
Recent form (all competitions): DDLWWL


Palace

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew on December 28, 2015© Getty Images

In the build-up to Christmas, it was suggested that Palace could make a strong push for a Champions League position this season, or at the very least consolidate a spot in the top seven. The London side have fallen off the edge of a cliff in 2016, however, and will enter this match having not tasted all three points in England's top flight since beating Stoke City 2-1 at the Britannia on December 12.

Since then, they have drawn three and lost six of their nine Premier League matches, which has seen them drop into 13th position in the table. Indeed, they are now level on 32 points with West Brom and have suffered two more defeats than their opponents this weekend. The injury bug has hit Alan Pardew hard in 2016, but the FA Cup has brought some welcome relief from their league troubles.

Indeed, Palace will enter this match off the back of a 1-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur in the fifth round of the FA Cup last weekend. That victory has set up a quarter-final with Reading and handed Palace an excellent chance to make the semis of the competition. While a run in the cup is always favourable, the club's board will want to see some improvement in the league.

Palace were beaten 2-1 at home by Watford in their last league match, but they have actually collected all the points on three of their last six trips to West Brom in all competitions - only losing once in the process.

After this match, the capital side will travel to Sunderland on Tuesday night, before hosting Liverpool next weekend. A strong run of results would end all talk of pressure on Pardew, but the club would have to start looking over their shoulder if their winless run continues.

Recent form: LLLLDL
Recent form (all competitions): LWLDLW


Team News

Yannick Bolasie in action for Crystal Palace on December 20, 2014© Getty Images

West Brom are expected to be without the services of Jonny Evans, who is still struggling with a hamstring problem, but Gareth McAuley and Craig Dawson should both be available for the home team.

Berahino is expected to start in the front three alongside Salomon Rondon and Stephane Sessegnon, while Brunt will slide in at left-back.

As for Palace, Yannick Bolasie is expected to make his first start for two months following a hip problem. Bakary Sako is also in the squad, but Jason Puncheon and James McArthur remain long-term absentees.

Pape Souare's continued suspension should mean another start for Martin Kelly and Joel Ward in the full-back positions.

West Brom possible starting lineup:
Foster; Dawson, Olsson, McAuley, Brunt; Sandro, Fletcher, Yacob; Berahino, Rondon, Sessegnon

Palace possible starting lineup:
Hennessy; Kelly, Dann, Delaney, Ward; Cabaye, Jedinak, Ledley, Bolasie, Adebayor, Zaha


Head To Head

As mentioned, Palace have been victorious on three of their last six visits to West Brom in all competitions.

Last season's corresponding league match saw the points shared in a 2-2 draw, but Palace recorded a 2-0 victory when the two teams met at Selhurst Park in October 2015.


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We say: West Brom 1-2 Palace

Palace have certainly had their problems over the last few months, but Emmanuel Adebayor's introduction has given them a new threat in the final third and the return of Bolasie to fitness is a big boost.

West Brom have also been very inconsistent since the start of the year and the loss of Evans at the back might well hurt them this weekend. It should be an entertaining match and we are backing Palace to record a long overdue league win.



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Emmanuel Adebayor celebrates scoring during the Premier League game between Crystal Palace and Watford on February 13, 2016
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