Many Albion fans and pundits alike have condemned the Baggies to the drop following last week’s dull draw with fellow strugglers Newcastle. However, if this Albion side are to have any chance of pulling off the impossible, three points away to Palace will be imperative.
With 10 fixtures left in what has proved a disappointing season for West Brom, a trip to South London will be seen as a must win for Big Sam’s boys. Whilst there has been notable improvements defensively with 3 clean sheets in 5, Albion still lack goals and will hope Diagne can add to his somewhat unproductive start in the Premier League.
Last time out the Baggies were battered 5-1 at home by the Eagles, following a contestable Matheus Pereira red card. The usually productive midfielder has been lacking recently, and for the Albion to come away from Selhurst Park with a win, he will need to be back to his best.
Palace have won three of the previous four (D1) clashes with the Baggies, but they have never completed the double over the Albion in the Premier League. Selhurst Park isn’t exactly a fortress at the moment, with Roy’s men failing to score in their last three home games. The last time they went 4 without a goal was the beginning of the 2018/19 campaign.
It seems that Big Sam has now found his best side and it is unlikely we will see any changes from the side that drew 0-0 with Newcastle. The only possible change could see the introduction of Robert Snodgrass for Matty Phillips or possibly even Matheus Pereira. At his best the Brazilian magician can vastly improve the middle of the park, but he’s been lacklustre to say the least recently, and his exclusion would not be a surprise to many Albion fans.
Aside from that, it is unlikely we will see any changes to the side that have seemed to work well as a unit. The only downside to the fact we now have a more definitive side is that it couldn’t have been done earlier, but the team will need to be at their best to stand any chance of survival.
Predicted Lineup: (4-1-4-1)
Hodgson has no new injury concerns approaching the clash with Albion but there is still a significant list of players missing for Palace. Mamadou Sakho and James Tompkins are still out, alongside Tyrick Mitchell, James McArthur and James McCarthy. Nathaniel Cline is also set to miss the game, but Wilfred Zaha will be fit and available, and could prove a handful for the West Brom backline. Jeffrey Schlupp is also back available, so Hodgson will be hoping for his side to be able to take control of the game.
Predicted Lineup: (4-4-2)
Albion’s Game Plan
Albion fans should expect a similar performance to previous weeks, with Allardyce hoping the defence stays strong early on, whilst set pieces will be important. The Baggies have struggled recently with corners, as Pereira’s service has been poor, but flick-ons will no doubt be vital if they are to win today.
I very much doubt this will be in any way an enjoyable watch, but the makings of a good performance are now there, so Albion fans should expect a good performance from the team, judging by recent games. This could be the final chance to rescue the season.
Score Prediction: Palace 1-2 West Brom
This may seem like an overly optimistic score prediction, but judging by recent performances, the only puzzle piece left is goals, and I can see Diagne bagging one today. Crystal Palace do have a strong attack, but hopefully the defence will hold tight like it has in previous games.