Crystal Palace vs West Bromwich Albion
English Premier League
13th August 2016, 15:00 pm BST
Selhurst Park, London
Crystal Palace kick off their 2016-17 Premier League season at home to West Bromwich Albion in a battle between two relegation contenders at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
In the two meetings between these sides last season the home team won on each occasion. Crystal Palace’s win came back in October thanks to second-half goals from Yannick Bolasie and Yohan Cabaye. The Congolese international is currently under intense transfer speculation with Everton strongly linked, whilst Cabaye is still with the club.
Alan Pardew has made two big money signings in Andros Townsend (£13m) and James Tomkins (£10m) whilst also bringing in experienced goalkeeper Steve Mandanda. As if they didn’t already have enough pacey wingers, Townsend links up with Bolasie, Wilfried Zaha, Jason Puncheon and Bakary Sako as options out wide.
The Eagles have shipped out a number of strikers this summer – Dwight Gayle, Emmanuel Adebayor and Marouane Chamakh are no longer on the books. Fraizer Campbell is also unavailable through injury for the opening weekend meaning Connor Wickham is expected to lead the line up front.
West Brom made an awful end to last season, taking only four points from their final nine matches. The Baggies have stuck with manager Tony Pulis who has never been relegated in his career.
The West Midlands club have been quiet so far during the transfer market with Matthew Phillips the only signing so far. The winger arrived from Championship side Queens Park Rangers whom he has previous Premier League experience with, as well as Blackpool.
Saido Berahino remains a West Brom player but faces competition with Salomón Rondón for a place in the starting lineup. The Venezuelan international found some form in the second half of last season and unless West Brom go back into the transfer market for an attacking player over the next three weeks, they will be counting on Rondón and Berahino for their goals.
With Chris Brunt injured, Jonny Evans could move to left-back and Craig Dawson start on the right, meaning Pulis would be naming four centre-backs in defence. That will be interesting when they come up against Palace’s pacey wingers.
West Brom will be without left-back Chris Brunt who picked up a serious injury towards the end of last season which ruled him out of representing Northern Ireland at this summer’s Euro 2016.
The hosts will be without £10 million centre-back James Tomkins who is injured, as are Bakary Sako and Fraizer Campbell.
Crystal Palace: Steve Mandanda; Joel Ward, Scott Dann, Damien Delaney, Pape Souaré; Joe Ledley, Yohan Cabaye, Andros Townsend, Jason Puncheon, Wilfried Zaha; Connor Wickham
West Brom: Ben Foster, Craig Dawson, Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson, Jonny Evans; Darren Fletcher, Claudio Yacob, Matth Phillips, James Morrison, James McClean; Salomón Rondón
9 – West Brom are winless in their last nine Premier League matches (D4, L5).
10% – West Brom have won only one of their 10 opening Premier League games.
12 – Crystal Palace have lost 12 of their 19 Premier League matches so far in 2016 (W2, D5).