Crystal Palace 1-0 West Bromwich Albion: Eagles dent Baggies’ survival hopes
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West Brom lack natural goalscorer – Allardyce

Sam Allardyce said West Brom have a “massive mountain to climb” after defeat at Crystal Palace left the 66-year-old staring at the prospect of a first relegation of his managerial career.

Palace captain Luka Milivojevic scored the game’s only goal from the spot after Darnell Furlong was adjudged to have handled Wilfried Zaha’s cross, leaving the second-bottom Baggies eight points clear of safety with nine matches left to play.

“There’s 27 points available and 20 needed,” Allardyce told Sky Sports. “We can only really afford to drop seven points.

“I’m left frustrated because of the players’ efforts not being rewarded, and that’s a consistent analysis from me.”

The Baggies rarely looked like salvaging a point at Selhurst Park, their only shot on target coming courtesy of Mbaye Diagne 18 minutes from time.

“That shows where our problems have been,” Allardyce added. “We had 12 shots and only one on target.

“At the end of the day you need a natural goalscorer. When you have one, he finds a way to be in the right areas and he doesn’t need more than one opportunity to score.

“We’re defending superbly well and our football leading up to the final third is excellent. We need more responsibility to not only score, but to hit them on target.”

Roy Hodgson’s side went close to doubling their lead in the second half but West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone did magnificently to tip Christian Benteke’s powerful effort over the crossbar.

The Belgian striker was played through by Zaha not long afterwards but was denied by Kyle Bartley’s last-ditch tackle.

The win lifts Palace above Leeds and Wolves into 11th place.

Returning Zaha ‘stands tall’

Palace winger Wilfried Zaha refused to take the knee before kick-off

Although well-positioned to retain their Premier League status, Palace have struggled to pose much of an attacking threat at Selhurst Park of late.

Indeed, Hodgson’s side had failed to score a home goal since Eberechi Eze’s thumping finish in a 1-0 win over Wolves on 30 January.

The Eagles were boosted by the inclusion of their talisman Zaha, making his first start since 2 February after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Zaha became the first Premier League player not to take a knee before kick-off, having recently described the gesture – adopted amid the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in response to the killing of black American George Floyd – as “degrading” and “something we just do”, while urging his fellow players to “stand tall”.

The Ivory Coast international played a key role in the game’s only goal, his in-swinging cross deflecting off Furlong’s arm and prompting referee Simon Hooper to point to the penalty spot after consulting his pitch-side monitor.

Milivojevic sent Baggies goalkeeper Johnstone the wrong way for his first goal since last June. Twenty-two of the midfielder’s 28 Premier League goals for the club have come from the spot.

Benteke could have added to Palace’s slender advantage in the second half but Hodgson will be more than satisfied with a result that takes his team to 37 points with nine league games remaining.

Time running out for Baggies

The Baggies, who have collected just three wins all season, could find themselves 10 points adrift of 17th place if other results go against them this weekend.

The visitors were tidy on the ball at Selhurst Park but lacked incision in the final third and failed to test Vicente Guaita until midway through the second half.

Diagne lost his footing while attempting to steer Okay Yokuslu’s lofted through-ball past the onrushing Palace goalkeeper, but the forward’s appeals for a penalty were waved away by Hooper.

Matheus Pereira and Matt Phillips had both wasted promising opportunities earlier in the half, while Hal Robson-Kanu only just prevented Conor Townsend’s late effort from going out of play for a Palace throw-in.

Portsmouth and West Ham went on to secure Premier League survival from similar positions in 2006 and 2007 respectively, but it is hard to see the Baggies scoring enough goals to haul themselves out of trouble.

West Brom draw yet another blank – the stats

  • Crystal Palace are unbeaten in their past seven Premier League home games against sides starting the day in the bottom two (W5 D2), keeping six clean sheets and conceding just once.
  • West Brom have won just one of their past 20 Premier League games in London (D5 L14), a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace in August 2016.
  • Crystal Palace registered their first ever top-flight double over West Brom, with this the 13th season in which they’ve met the Baggies.
  • West Brom have failed to score in 15 league games this season – only in 2008-09 (17) and 2005-06 (18) have they drawn a blank in more games in a single Premier League campaign.
  • 11.5% of Crystal Palace’s Premier League goals have been penalties (56/487), the highest ratio of any club with 200+ goals in the competition.
  • Matt Phillips became the 32nd player to play a Premier League game on his birthday this season, and the fifth to do so for West Brom this term (also Romaine Sawyers, Callum Robinson, Conor Townsend and Dara O’Shea).

‘There’s not a natural goalscorer’ – what the managers said

Win over West Brom is vital for Palace’s season – Hodgson

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson, speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “We knew what a difficult game this was going to be. West Brom have improved enormously over the last few weeks.

“Thirty-seven points from 29 games is an awful lot more than the club is used to having so that’s very satisfactory. If we show the commitment that we showed tonight then I am confident we will get ourselves over the line again and Palace will have another season in the Premier League.

“Wilfried Zaha has put out a statement which is very self-explanatory and the reason he feels the need to make this particular gesture. He personally feels that taking the knee has lost its strength because it has become part of our routine. We felt it was absolutely his right to do so.”

West Brom manager Sam Allardyce, speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “We used to concede that many that it didn’t matter what we did at the other end. We’ve solved half of the equation. Our shots were far greater than Palace’s today but we only had one on target and that’s why we’re not winning football matches.

“You need a natural there who can turn a game on its head even if you’re not playing great.

“Time has been running out game by game. It’s a great shame that we are still on 18 points given the players’ consistent performance. Down to our failings in front of goal we’re finding it difficult to get those three points.”

What’s next?

Both teams return to action on 3 April, with Palace travelling to top-four hopefuls Everton (15:00 GMT) and West Brom facing Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea away from home (15:00 GMT).

Player of the match

CahillGary Cahill

with an average of 7.42

Crystal Palace

  1. Squad number24Player nameCahill

  2. Squad number25Player nameEze

  3. Squad number4Player nameMilivojevic

  4. Squad number10Player nameTownsend

  5. Squad number44Player nameRiedewald

  6. Squad number20Player nameBenteke

  7. Squad number11Player nameZaha

  8. Squad number8Player nameKouyaté

  9. Squad number3Player namevan Aanholt

  10. Squad number2Player nameWard

  11. Squad number9Player nameJ Ayew

  12. Squad number31Player nameGuaita

  13. Squad number15Player nameSchlupp

West Bromwich Albion

  1. Squad number1Player nameJohnstone

  2. Squad number30Player nameMaitland-Niles

  3. Squad number18Player nameGallagher

  4. Squad number27Player nameO’Shea

  5. Squad number5Player nameBartley

  6. Squad number35Player nameYokuslu

  7. Squad number17Player nameDiagne

  8. Squad number23Player nameSnodgrass

  9. Squad number10Player namePhillips

  10. Squad number14Player nameTownsend

  11. Squad number12Player nameMatheus Pereira

  12. Squad number2Player nameFurlong

  13. Squad number4Player nameRobson-Kanu

Line-ups

Crystal Palace

Formation 4-4-2

  • 31Guaita
  • 2Ward
  • 8Kouyaté
  • 24CahillBooked at 90mins
  • 3van AanholtBooked at 90mins
  • 9J AyewSubstituted forTownsendat 84′minutes
  • 4Milivojevic
  • 44Riedewald
  • 25EzeBooked at 53minsSubstituted forSchluppat 74′minutes
  • 20Benteke
  • 11Zaha

Substitutes

  • 1Butland
  • 6Dann
  • 10Townsend
  • 14Mateta
  • 15Schlupp
  • 21Wickham
  • 23Batshuayi
  • 34Kelly
  • 38Hannam

West Brom

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Johnstone
  • 2FurlongBooked at 36mins
  • 27O’Shea
  • 5Bartley
  • 14Townsend
  • 35Yokuslu
  • 10PhillipsSubstituted forSnodgrassat 71′minutes
  • 18Gallagher
  • 30Maitland-Niles
  • 12Costa PereiraSubstituted forRobson-Kanuat 63′minutes
  • 17Diagne

Substitutes

  • 4Robson-Kanu
  • 6Ajayi
  • 7Robinson
  • 8Livermore
  • 11Diangana
  • 22Peltier
  • 23Snodgrass
  • 25Button
  • 29Grant

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Crystal Palace 1, West Bromwich Albion 0.

  2. Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 1, West Bromwich Albion 0.

  3. Gary Cahill (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card.

  4. Foul by Conor Gallagher (West Bromwich Albion).

  5. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Mbaye Diagne (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Foul by Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace).

  8. Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card.

  9. Darnell Furlong (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  10. Foul by Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace).

  11. Substitution, Crystal Palace. Andros Townsend replaces Jordan Ayew.

  12. Attempt missed. Conor Townsend (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Mbaye Diagne.

  13. Foul by Okay Yokuslu (West Bromwich Albion).

  14. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  15. Offside, Crystal Palace. Christian Benteke tries a through ball, but Wilfried Zaha is caught offside.

  16. Foul by Okay Yokuslu (West Bromwich Albion).

  17. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  18. Foul by Dara O’Shea (West Bromwich Albion).

  19. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  20. Foul by Conor Gallagher (West Bromwich Albion).

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