Crystal Palace 0-1 West Bromwich Albion

13 Aug

Salomon Rondon


Salomon Rondon has scored in each of his past three West Brom games

Salomon Rondon’s header was enough to give West Brom a narrow win over Crystal Palace in a dreary Premier League opener at Selhurst Park.

Both of these sides struggled for wins at the back end of last season and it showed in a game low on chances.

Crystal Palace debutant Andros Townsend failed to inspire the home side following his move from Newcastle.

Rondon flicked in James McClean’s free-kick on 74 minutes for the only goal to hand Tony Pulis’ side three points.

Both sides had just six Premier League wins between them in 2016 – two for Palace and four for West Brom. They also had the two lowest goal tallies in the league last season, aside from relegated Aston Villa.

The prospect of an opening-day thriller was always going to be optimistic.

And so it proved. The only opportunities of note, apart from the goal, were a Rondon header saved by Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey and Albion’s Ben Foster charging down Wilfried Zaha when the forward was clean through.

Townsend toils, Bolasie’s ‘heart and soul elsewhere’

Andros Townsend touch map<!–

Andros Townsend was full of running on his Palace debut, and regularly came in off the wing for shooting opportunities, as this touch map shows

Beaten FA Cup finalists Palace had finished 15th last term, one place below their opponents, but have been the more active in the transfer market, bringing in three players compared to Albion’s one.

Only Townsend of those new arrivals featured, with defender James Tomkins injured and keeper Steve Mandanda left out of the squad. And while the England winger’s effort could not be faulted, he failed to spark life into the side.

Boss Alan Pardew’s immediate concern will be the future of forward Yannick Bolasie, who was instrumental in Palace’s impressive first-half of the 2015-16 campaign.

Everton are in talks with the Eagles to sign Bolasie, and the DR Congo international came off the bench to a warm applause from the home support after 66 minutes.

“The deal is close and he will go with my best wishes. It’s fair to say we know his heart and soul may be elsewhere,” said Pardew of Bolasie’s prospective move.

Berahino committed despite possible exit

Seven of West Brom’s 10 Premier League wins last season finished 1-0 and with a new campaign, and a prospective new owner in Chinese businessman Guochuan Lai, came a familiar result.

Guochuan provided the 2,000 travelling Albion fans with free scarves, but the victory would have provided the more welcome fillip to supporters who grew restless at times last season with the style of football played under Pulis.

The Baggies named their only summer signing in the starting line-up – with winger Matt Phillips making a lively start before drifting out of the game – but Pulis has reiterated his intention to bring in five more players before the end of August.

Rondon, top scorer for West Brom last season, added to his 10 league goals for the club with a clever finish, but doubt over the future of his strike partner Saido Berahino continues.

Stoke are reportedly interested in the 20-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of the season but looked committed until he was taken off with five minutes to go.

“He won’t be leaving unless we bring someone in,” was Pulis’ assessment of Berahino’s potential move.

Man of the match – Salomon Rondon

Salomon Rondon<!–

A nuisance for the Palace defence to deal with and always looked the most likely goal scorer on the pitch

What they said

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Crystal Palace 0-1 West Brom- Pardew reacts

Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew: “We lacked a cutting edge, a moment, today. If we had scored first, we would’ve won.

“I thought we were pretty strong defensively, they didn’t have many chances.

“West Brom are never easy, they camp the midfield, make it hard at the back and of course – set plays.”

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We hope we can keep Berahino – Pulis

West Brom boss Tony Pulis: “It was not a fluke. I think we deserved it. Palace never created a lot, they had just long range shots really. I’m very pleased.

“It is more important that we stay in the Premier League and Saido Berahino’s goals will help us do that. We’re hoping and praying we can keep him.”

What’s up next?

West Brom host Everton, while Palace go to Tottenham next Saturday – two teams who drew 1-1 with each other on the opening day.

The stats you need to know

  • Since Tony Pulis took charge on 10 January 2015, West Brom have kept 22 clean sheets in the top flight, a haul only Arsenal (26), Man City (23) and Man Utd (23) can better.
  • West Brom’s past 11 Premier League wins have all been by a one-goal margin.
  • Crystal Palace have now lost 13 Premier League games in 2016 (level with Norwich), a figure only Aston Villa (14) can better.
  • The Eagles have won only one of their past nine season openers held at Selhurst Park (D4 L4).

Live Text

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

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

Attempt missed. Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left from a direct free kick.

Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion).

Attempt saved. Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Mile Jedinak.

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Martin Kelly replaces Pape Souaré.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Andros Townsend.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Pape Souaré.

Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace).

Jonas Olsson (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Scott Dann (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Salomón Rondón (West Bromwich Albion).

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. James Morrison replaces Saido Berahino.

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card.

Jonny Evans (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

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

Foul by Jonny Evans (West Bromwich Albion).

Attempt missed. Scott Dann (Crystal Palace) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Yohan Cabaye with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Craig Dawson.

Attempt missed. Matt Phillips (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Salomón Rondón.

Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion).

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Pape Souaré.

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Yohan Cabaye replaces Jason Puncheon.

Goal! Crystal Palace 0, West Bromwich Albion 1. Salomón Rondón (West Bromwich Albion) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by James McClean with a cross following a set piece situation.

Foul by Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace).

Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt saved. Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Salomón Rondón.

Attempt missed. Salomón Rondón (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Ben Foster following a set piece situation.

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. James McClean replaces Craig Gardner.

Foul by Joel Ward (Crystal Palace).

Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace).

Salomón Rondón (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Yannick Bolasie replaces Lee Chung-yong.

Attempt missed. Jonas Olsson (West Bromwich Albion) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Craig Gardner with a cross following a set piece situation.

Foul by Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace).

Darren Fletcher (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

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