New manager Alan Pardew will be hoping for a great start to his West Brom managerial career when he takes on his former employers Crystal Palace at the Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon. Pardew will hopefully look to use all of his Premier League experience in trying to steady the ship at the Baggies and will attempt to dismantle Crystal Palace’s revived form under Roy Hodgson.
West Brom sit three points above their South London opponents in 17th place, with Saturday proving to be a decisive game so early on into the season, both managers will not want too lose this game.
West Brom are sitting just above the relegation zone with just 12 points from their 14 games this season. The last time they were victorious in the Premier League was in the 2nd game of the season away to high flying Burnley back in August. The form had by the Baggies since then has prompted Chinese owner Lai Guochuan to reluctantly part company with Tony Pulis.
Their last result was a hard fought home draw with Newcastle with caretaker manager Gary Megson in charge. Hal Robson-Kanu and Sam Field put the Baggies on course for their first win in 10 until they were breached thanks to goals from Ciaran Clark and an own goal from Jonny Evans. The fightback from Newcastle was the last straw for the owner and swiftly moved to get Pardew in on Wednesday afternoon.
Crystal Palace gained a well deserved point on Tuesday against Brighton in the self proclaimed “M23” derby, however still remain bottom after 14 games.
Since taking up the managerial role, Roy Hodgson has done okay at Selhurst Park having only lost once in his last 5 games and slowly but surely picking up points. The highlight of this run coming at home when they secured a last gasp 2-1 victory over relegation rivals Stoke City. Mamadou Sakho scoring in the 92nd minute to keep some pressure on the other teams in the fight for survival.
This is the first time Roy Hodgson will be back at West Brom since guiding the club to their best placed finish in the league since 1981, finishing 10th back in the 2011/2012 season. He will in no doubt be looking to star man Wilfried Zaha to get his side away from safety. The in-form Palace winger has been pivotal to the teams chances of late with three goals in his last eight games.
Alan Pardew has a few doubts going into his first game as West Brom head coach. Kieran Gibbs (thigh) and winger Matt Phillips (hamstring) look set to doubtful over their respective injuries. Nacer Chadli, James Morrison and Chris Brunt are the ones confirmed out.
Roy Hodgson will hopefully try to keep the same squad that got a point at Brighton in midweek. A little bit of uncertainty surrounds a clutch of players however. Hodgson revealed that Scott Dann, Jeffrey Schlupp, Yohan Cabaye ans Luka Milivojevic all day out training on Thursday but is hopeful that they can overcome this.
One predicts a cagey affair up in the Midlands and could see two teams who are fighting for the Premier League lives cancel each other at on Saturday.
Prediction: West Brom 2 Crystal Palace 2