Crystal Palace have moved 3 points clear of the relegation zone after a 3-1 win over West Brom. Palace looked invigorated by their new signings, 3 of which started the game for them today – Tom Ince, Joe Ledley and Scott Dann. Palace have struggled for goals lately with only Jason Puncheon finding the net in the league since Boxing Day. But it was Palace new boy Ince that opened the scoring after fifteen minutes as he lobbed the ball delightfully over an onrushing Ben Foster. It was another of Crystal Palace’s loan signings - Ledley - that scored the Eagles’ second goal, nodding in a header from Ince’s corner after some shocking marking from West Brom.
It was then the turn of West Brom’s new player Thievy Bifouma to score; it took him just 36 seconds to open his account for the Baggies after coming on as a half-time substitute. With extra numbers in attack, Mel’s side were also proving more of a threat in and around the Palace box as both James Morrison and Sinclair forced superb saves out of Speroni.
Despite a barrage of West Brom pressure, Palace looked threatening on the counterattack and the game was put to bed when Ben Forster brought down Marouane Chamakh, resulting in a penalty. Chamakh dispatched the penalty to make the score 3-1 to Palace. West Brom came close to narrowing the margin as Morrison, Anichebe and Saido Berahino all came close late on, however it was to no avail as the score ended 3-1 to Crystal Palace.
Tony Pulis was very pleased with the difference his new signings made, with Scott Dann looking solid in defense as he also made his Palace debut in addition to Ince and Ledley, who played out of position at left-back. In the press conference after the game, Pulis sang the praises for the Palace new boys:
“The biggest thing about Tom [Ince] is his work and the way he did all the unglamorous stuff, which all good players do.
“We are pleased for him, Dann and Ledley. The big thing is that the players who have been at the football club have done exceptionally well.”
The victory extended Palace’s good run of form at home. They’ve taken 16 points from a possible 21 at Selhurst Park since Pulis - whose side have won six of their past twelve - took over in November.
In contrast, West Brom’s new Boss Pepe Mel is still looking for his first win after 4 games in charge. The Baggies have only won once since their victory against Crystal Palace in November. This result brings even more bad news for Pepe Mel and his team as they have know fallen into the relegation zone as Palace leap up to 14th in the table. Mel was also disappointed in the awarding of the Crystal Palace penalty, which ultimately killed off West Brom:
“The penalty decision was laughable. If it was a penalty then it would have been a red card. I think the penalty decision really did prevent us from getting anything from the game.”
It’s arguably even tighter at the bottom of the table than it as at the top at the moment. There are eleven teams, from Swansea in tenth to Fulham in twentieth, that are all involved in the relegation dog fight. The remaining Premier League games for these clubs are all like cup finals, one slip up could send any one of them down into the Championship next season.
Palace are looking on the up since Tony Pulis took over and many people are confident that they will stave off the drop. The Palace fans were given further cause to cheer when striker Glenn Murray returned from the knee injury that had kept him sidelined since last May. The same cannot be said for West Brom, who have now dropped into the relegation zone, with things getting harder in their next game against Chelsea. Pepe Mel will be desperately hoping that he can turn the fortunes of West Brom around before the end of the season so they can keep their place in the Premier League.
Written by Dan Bannell