Crystal Palace vs West Brom preview: How to watch, kick-off time, team news, predicted line-ups and ones to watch
Karlan Grant of West Bromwich Albion is challenged by Patrick van Aanholt of Crystal Palace during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace at The Hawthorns on December 06, 2020 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

West Bromwich Albion will be looking to close the gap between themselves and Brighton when they face Crystal Palace on Saturday. 

Currently eight points behind the Seagulls', the Baggies have just ten games to turn around the eight point deficit and can be encouraged by a slight improvement in form. 

Despite only winning one in their last five, they have also only lost a single match, with the Albion starting to find their feet under Sam Allardyce.

Home side, Crystal Palace have had a rather uneventful season, finding themselves 13th in the table with 34 points. 

Steady under the guidance of Roy Hodgson, the Eagles know a win would all-but ensure Premier League survival, with their current points standing already putting them eight points clear of the drop zone. 

  • Team news

After coming off the bench against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, Hodgson is expected to welcome back star man, Wilfried Zaha, to the starting lineup. 

The Ivorian international is the only man returning through injury, with Mamadou Sakho, James McCarthy, James Tomkins, James McArthur, Wayne Hennessey, Nathan Ferguson, Tyrick Mitchell and Nathaniel Clyne all sidelined. 

For the away side, there are no significant injury concerns, with Kieran Gibbs the only injury doubt for the match.

Grady Diangana could play for just the second time in 11 games after making a cameo appearance in the clubs Under-23s match on Monday, but is most likely to have to settle for a place on the bench. 

  • Predicted lineups

Crystal Palace: Guaita, Ward, Cahill, Kouyate, van Aanholt, Eze, Riedewald, Milivojevic, Townsend, Zaha, Benteke 

West Brom: Johnstone, Townsend, Bartley, O'Shea, Furlong, Yokuslu, Snodgrass, Maitland-Niles, Gallagher, Pereira, Diagne 

  • Ones to watch 

Crystal Palace: Wilfried Zaha 

Imperative to the Eagles, Zaha will be the key man for the home side. Palace have a torrid record without the former Manchester United winger this season, winning just one of the eight games that he has not featured. 

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Enduring one of his best goalscoring seasons in the Premier League, the 28-year-old is just one goal behind his highest ever tally of 10; achieved back in the 2018/19 campaign. 

Two of those goals came in the last meeting between the two sides. In the match at the Hawthorns earlier in the season, Zaha played in a striking duo with Christian Benteke - a pair which were far too much for 10-man Albion, with the away side coming away with an emphatic 5-1 victory. 

Missing five of the last six games through injury, Zaha's return could not have come at a worse time from a West Brom point of view. 

West Brom: Kyle Bartley 

A constant in the Baggies' backline, Kyle Bartley has been at the heart of a much improved Albion defence.

Playing just 24 minutes in the first three games under Allardyce due to injury, where West Brom conceded a total of 13 goals, the former Swansea man has not missed a minute since.

In the 11 games after the drubbing from Arsenal, the Baggies have not conceded over three goals in a single match, with this being reduced to a maximum of one goal let in when looking at the previous five games. 

Despite only winning one of those, with that being a rather fortunate 1-0 over fellow relegation candidates, Brighton, the ability of the Albion to keep clean sheets is something their rivals cannot boast. 

With 10 games left to go and eight points away from survival, there is an added pressure for the forwards to score, with West Brom failing to score more than a solitary goal in their previous seven matches.

However, with the improvement of the West Brom defence, especially that of Bartley himself, the Albion have a foundation to get results. 

  • Previous meeting 

In the match earlier in the season, it was the Eagles that flew away with a comfortable victory. 

With the game level at 1-1, with a strike from Chelsea loanee, Conor Gallagher, cancelling out an earlier Darnell Furlong own-goal, a red card for Matheus Pereira put Palace in control of the game.

From there, the away side scored four second-half goals, with a brace from both Zaha and Benteke giving the London club the win. 

The Baggies have a dismal record against Palace, with their last win coming in 2016. In that time they have lost five of their last six, drawing a singular game.  

  • Key quotes 

In the home dugout, Hodgson praised his old side and emphasised the importance of the match.

"It's a big game for both teams," said the Palace boss. "They're in a good spell and will be thinking they can build on that. I've been impressed with their recent performances."

The 73-year-old also expressed his delight about being able to give feedback on VAR.

He said: "I think it's good that the Premier League are asking for VAR feedback. I think all managers, owners, and club directors will have a lot to say it about it." 

For Allardyce, he insisted that the pressure is on his side to get a result, and played down the importance of the game for the hosts.

"We need a victory more than Crystal Palace," said the Albion manager. "They are in a very comfortable position. All the pressure lies with us. We need to score the first goal."

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The former England manager also suggested that being able to score goals is crucial to their survival hopes.

He said: "So near and so far, we have to rectify our goalscoring ability. We would have had more than a fighting chance of staying in the Premier League."

Allardyce concluded: "We have to turn that round as quickly as possible."

  • How to watch 

The game will be played on Saturday, 13th March at 3pm BST, and will be shown live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League

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