On November 2nd, West Brom welcome bottom club Crystal Palace to The Hawthorns. This will be a match up of two teams who have not been in good form. Neither team won a game in the month of September and will need to improve if they want to achieve their respective goals for the season.
Both teams have injuries to deal with, but West Brom have injuries to some of their key starters that could really hurt them in this game. West Brom will be missing star keeper Ben Foster for about another month with an an ankle injury, so Boaz Myhill will continue to deputise in place of him. Both wingers, Morgan Amalfitano and Scott Sinclair, will undergo late fitness test to see if they can play, but, if one or both miss out, it will be a big blow to the Baggies. West Brom will also be missing Zolton Gera and George Thorne through long term injuries.
Palace will be missing young starlet Jonathan Williams. Paddy McCarthy, Jack Hunt, and Glenn Murray all have long term injuries that have kept them out for the past few games.
The last time these two teams were both in the Premier League was 2004-2005. In that 2004-2005 season, both teams finished in the bottom four. This saw Palace relegated but West Brom survived by the skin of their teeth, only to be relegated next season. The last time these two faced each over in the Premier League it finished in a 2-2 draw. In that draw, three of the four goals were scored in the last 10 minutes and stoppage time, and there was a man sent off. Of the players in the teams that day, Zolton Gera is the only one still with the same club but, as mentioned above, he will have to miss the game through injury. The last time this fixture finished 0-0 in any competition was in 1999 so you can expect goals.
A man who could be key to unlocking the Palace defence is Stephen Sessegnon. Sessegnon was brought to the Hawthorns on deadline day this summer from Sunderland, after Paolo Di Canio stated the Benin international was no longer part of his plans. Last year with Sunderland, Sessegnon made 35 league appearances for Sunderland and was a key player at the Stadium of Light. Sessegnon has completed more dribbles than any other player at West Brom (16), despite missing the first three games of the season. The Palace back-line will have nightmares of Sessegnon running at them. While he is not a tall guy, standing at only 5’6, Sessegnon is quite stocky in his build. Combine that with his naturally low centre of gravity and that makes him very tough to knock off the ball. Sessegnon also has the eye to play a defence-splitting pass. Again, despite missing the first three games, Sessegnon is tied for third in chances created (6) of all West Brom’s players. Last season, Sessegnon was tied for the lead in assists at Sunderland and has shown since he moved to the Premier League in 2011 he has a great eye for a pass.
If Palace are going to get three points from this game, Palace will need to score goals. The best bet for a player on Palace to score goals is probably Dwight Gayle. After playing well last season for Peterbrough in the Championship, Ian Holloway brought Gayle in to try help Palace survive in the top flight. While Palace have not done a great job surviving so far this season, Gayle has done all he can this season and is the only player to score multiple league goals. Gayle has been Palace’s most active player in front of goal this year, attempting six more shots than anyone else in the team. Gayle has scored Palace’s only goal from a clear cut chance this season, which was from a penalty. That signifies Palace’s biggest problem this year: their inability to create and take clear cut chances.
West Brom are clearly the better team and are at home, so it looks like it will be a tough one for Palace. Palace have only scored multiple goals once this season, in the one game they won vs Sunderland. Palace are yet to keep a clean sheet and have allowed multiple goals in every game except the ones against Sunderland and Spurs. While Palace did show some fight and some spirit last week vs Arsenal it is tough to see anyone winning this game other than West Brom.
3-1 West Brom