West Brom-Crystal Palace Preview
Crystal Palace are off to their best start in almost two decades, but they still need to play better at home.
The road has been the only place West Bromwich Albion has managed to find success this season.
Palace could find it more difficult to even their home mark Saturday against a West Brom side that’s looking to continue their stinginess and remain undefeated on the road in Premier League play.
Just outside of the top four on the Premier League table, Crystal Palace (4-0-3) haven’t played this well to open a season since earning nine points through the first seven matches of 1997-98. The Eagles bounced back from consecutive 1-0 defeats to Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur by recording their first shutout of the campaign with Sunday’s 1-0 victory at Watford.
"(We) lost two tight games, so a win makes up for the games where the margins cost us," manager Alan Pardew told the club’s official website. "It wasn’t a classic but it was a good game for me and my staff."
Though the win was Palace’s third in four road contests this season, they’ve managed three of their nine total goals while going 1-0-2 at Selhurst Park. The Eagles recorded just two shots on target against City in their most recent match there Sept. 12.
Dating to last season, Palace have won nine of their last 12 league matches on the road but dropped five of the most recent seven at the Park.
"We’ve won a lot of games – last season and this season now – away from home," defender Scott Dann said. "I think if we try to transfer some of them performances to our home form we’ll do well."
That lingering rough stretch at home began April 18 with a 2-0 loss to West Brom (2-2-3). James Morrison and Craig Gardner did all the scoring for the Baggies in that contest. Morrison assisted on one of West Brom’s two scores away from home this season.
Those scores have been enough to carry the Baggies to a 2-1-0 mark on the road, where they’re the only Premier League team yet to allow a goal on their travels. It’s the first time in club history they’ve kept three straight clean sheets on the road.
"We work very hard on our defence, we pride ourselves on clean sheets," captain Darren Fletcher told West Brom’s official website.
Though the Baggies have stymied their league opponents on the road, they’ve yet to win in four home contests and will try to bounce back from Monday’s heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Everton. Saido Berahino and Craig Dawson gave West Brom a 2-0 lead after 54 minutes but Everton rallied with their three over a 29-minute span to stun the Baggies.
"To lose three goals after being two-nil up is not like us," Fletcher added. "We’ve got to look at ourselves, everyone, the whole team, and take responsibility for that defeat."
Fletcher, however, doesn’t want his teammates to remain consumed with the loss. West Brom are four points clear of relegation and have no time to feel sorry for themselves.
"There’s always games to bounce back and our away form has been good, so let’s go and try to continue that," he said. "It’s the Premier League, you’ve got to brush off disappointment.
"When you get good results don’t get too carried away and if you have bad results don’t get too low."