WBA-MAD Preview: Albion vs Palace

01 November 2013 01:31
Joseph Chapman looks forward to Albion's game against the Eagles West Brom welcome managerless Crystal Palace to The Hawthorns this week, with the Baggies hoping to add more misery and dejection to the league's bottom club.   Albion have endured an indifferent start to their campaign. Following three games without a goal, Gareth McAuley rescued a last gasp point at Fulham. This was backed up by successive victories over Sunderland and Manchester United and draws with Arsenal and Stoke. But they were well beaten by a superior Liverpool side last weekend, and so Steve Clarke will be looking for a response from his players.   Palace have lost all but one of their Premier League matches so far this season, and are already five points adrift of safety. All bookmakers have them as odds-on to make an immediate return to The Championship, but chairman Steve Parish is confident that Ian Holloway's replacement will give them a fighting chance of survival.   Early front-runner Tony Pulis seems to have faded, and Chris Coleman, Neil Warnock and Martin O'Neill are now favourites for the job. Whoever is appointed, the job is undoubtedly a challenge.    The only Premier League match in the past that has taken place at The Hawthorns between these two clubs occurred in 2005. With both sides battling to stay in the division, Andy Johnson gave the Eagles the lead before Kevin Campbell bundled in an equaliser. Into stoppage time, and Robert Earnshaw thought he'd won it for the hosts, only for Aki Riihilahti to level once again with virtually the last kick.   A host of players from the visiting side will be returning to the Black Country this weekend. Danny Gabbidon spent his youth career and the first couple of seasons of his senior career with the Baggies, while duo Kevin Phillips and Jerome Thomas were both fan favourites with the Albion faithful, the latter as recently as last season.   Team News    Albion have no new injury worries, with Ben Foster, Zoltan Gera and George Thorne remaining out. Morgan Amalfitano was substituted at Anfield, so James Morrison may start. It remains to be seen whether Shane Long, Nicolas Anelka or Victor Anichebe lead the line.    Keith Millen may well go with the same XI that performed admirably against table toppers Arsenal last weekend.    Prediction   Despite what the media and bookmakers suggest, I don't think this will be a straightforward victory for the home side. The Throstles need a result with a tough run of fixtures coming up, but the visitors have pace and flair that could be dangerous on the counter attack. Nevertheless, I think the hosts will edge it    2-1

Source: WBA MAD


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