Crystal Palace vs West Brom - Match preview and predicted line-ups
These two clubs are both established Premier League sides now and they will be hoping to start their campaign with a victory. Neither have changed managers over the summer, providing them with stability ahead of what promises to be another exciting Premier League season.
Crystal Palace fell away in 2016 after a superb first half of the season and they have a starting eleven which should be competing for a top half finish. Meanwhile, West Brom have not made any major moves over the off-season and the recent takeover does raise doubts about Tony Pulis’ long term future at the club. A strong start is needed to consolidate his position as head coach.
Palace had a busy pre-season, playing eight matches across three different countries, with mixed results. They won five and the highlight was a 3-1 victory over Valencia last weekend, which was a great test ahead of the opening weekend.
West Brom had a low-key pre-season in comparison and totalled over 7,000 fewer air miles, which could leave them better prepared for the opening game. Their results weren’t as good as Palace’s, as they won just two of their six matches and concluded their preparations with a 1-0 defeat against Mallorca in Spain.
Palace predicted starting XI West Brom predicted starting XI
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The home side have more injury concerns with both Papa Souare and James McArthur being doubts for the game. James Tomkins, Jonny Williams, Fraizer Campbell and Bakary Sako are all likely to miss out. Yannick Bolasie isn’t going to feature as he closes in on a move to Everton.
Chris Brunt is the only player missing through injury as he continues to recover from the ACL injury that kept him out of the latter part of last season. There are defensive concerns for the away side, as they lack natural full-backs, which means Craig Dawson and Jonny Evans are set to cover there.
I expect this to be a tight game between two sides established at this level. It is one of the few matches this weekend that is predictable as both have made only minor changes over the summer. West Brom are not great away from home, having won just four times on the road last season. Palace should be targeting a top half finish this campaign and despite the impending loss of Yannick Bolasie, I’m predicting them to win this weekend. Their first eleven is strong and the addition of Steve Mandanda improves an obvious weakness from last year. Alan Pardew has a lot of critics, but he has built a good side at Selhurst Park and they will be a threat this season.
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