After three wins out of three against his former clubs since being Baggies’ manager, Tony Pulis is looking to extend that to four out of four when Albion visit Selhurst Park on Saturday. The Baggies won 2-0 in south London in April and, with their home form suffering, they will be anxious for another three points this time around.
Albion’s second half capitulation at the Hawthorns on Monday evening was very unlike a Pulis team, and I expect to see a typical defensive setup from the Welshman at Selhurst providing there are enough defenders fit! The injuries to McAuley and Olsson on Monday exposed an apparent lack of depth in the Baggies back line, although the decision to move Dawson into the middle for the second half has to be questioned.
Palace come into the game after back to back wins at Watford in the Premier League and at home to neighbours Charlton Athletic in the Capital One Cup, although they lost their two previous games at home to Manchester City and away to Spurs. Their victory at Stamford Bridge prior to that is their stand out result of the season.
Contrary to Albion, Pardew’s team has an abundance of pace which could expose the West Brom back line, but Pulis has shown in the past that he can set his team up to be able to cope with a pacey attack, not least at Selhurst Park last season.
A number of players have played for both Albion and Palace, although none of the clubs’ current squads fall into that bracket.
Most recently, Jerome Thomas was released by Crystal Palace over the summer having played just a handful of games for the Eagles over the previous two seasons having been releaed from the Hawthorns in 2013. Thomas played more than 100 games for the Baggies scoring 13 goals including what turned out to be the winner at the Emirates Stadium in September 2010.
Current Watford midfielder, Ben Watson, started his career with Crystal Palace and made more that 150 appearances over seven seasons before moving to Wigan in 2009. He spent a few months on loan at the Hawthorns in 2010 making seven appearances scoring once, the opener at home to Preston in a 3-2 win. Irish defender Paul McShane, who moved to Reading over the summer, played 12 times for the Eagles on loan from Hull City in 2012 having spent a season with the Baggies having signed from Manchester United in August 2006.
Albion and Palace were two of the many clubs that current Villa forward, Scott Sinclair, joined on loan. He joined Palace on loan from Chelsea in 2008 scoring twice in just eight appearances for the Eagles and spent an unsuccessful season on loan at the Hawthorns from Manchester City in 2013/14.
Kevin Phillips joined Palace permanently in July 2013 having signed initially on loan from Blackpool the previous January and scoring the winner in the Play-Off final from the penalty spot. Another slightly less successful striker, Trevor Benjamin, also spent time on loan with both clubs while a Leicester City player, both in the 2001/2 season. He scored once in each set of stripes, his Baggies goal coming in a 3-1 over Barnsley.
He may have been the lesser known ‘Brown’, but Tony Brown’s contemporary, Ally Brown (pictured), spent almost as long at the Hawthorns as Bomber making over 300 appearances and scoring 85 goals. When he left the Hawthorns in March 1983, he moved to Crystal Palace scoring twice in eleven games before moving on to Walsall that summer.
One of Ally’s Albion teammates, Irish full back Paddy Mulligan, was at Palace for two seasons before moving to the Hawthorns in September 1975. He made 65 appearances for the Eagles before playing 130 times for the Baggies.
Another Scottish striker, Craig Beattie, joined Albion from Celtic in July 2007. Beattie spent most of his time at the Hawthorns either on the bench, or on loan, with one of those loan spells, arguably the most successful, being at Palace when he scored five goals in fifteen appearances.
Albion legend Ronnie Allen made well over 450 appearances for the Baggies between 1950 and 1961 and scored more that 200 goals including that penalty in the 1954 FA Cup Final (pictured). He moved to Selhurst Park on May Day 1961 and went on to play over 100 times for Palace scoring 39 goals.
Another Baggies legend, Derek Kevan, played 22 games for Palace in the 1965/66 season, scoring five times, while one of The Tank’s teammates, goalkeeper Ray Potter, had joined Albion from Palace in 1958. He made 49 appearances between the posts for the Eagles but went on to make 238 for the Baggies including both legs of the League Cup Final in 1966.
A few more players that some readers may remember include Danny Gabbidon, Garry Thompson, Shaun Murphy, Paul Barron and David Burnside.
Neither Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson or Salomon Rondón have trained since Monday’s game against Everton which opens up the prospect that Pulis may start with the same back four that capitulated to Everton, and even the unimpressive Rickie Lambert up front.
Pardew, on the other hand, has no new injury worries although his list already includes Delaney, Jedinak, Ward, Wichkam, Appiah and Chamakh.
Palace are yet to draw a game this season but, if Albion can continue the defensive solidity that they have shown in their away performances in the Premier League, this could prove to be their first.
All competitions; most recent game on the right
18 Apr 2015 – Premier League
Crystal Palace 0
West Brom 2 (Morrison, Gardner)
Albion’s Record against Crystal Palace
|Premier League Record|