Crystal Palace v West Brom: Eagles to swoop on top 10 finish

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson
Roy Hodgson deserves a medal for how he's done since moving to Selhurst Park
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Two of the Premier League's in-form teams meet each other at Selhurst Park this Sunday afternoon and Paul Robinson is predicting a low-scoring affair...

"Palace have won their last two at Selhurst Park, racking up eight goals in the process."

Back Crystal Palace @ [1.84]

Crystal Palace v West Brom
Sunday 13 May, 15:00 GMT


Eagles flying high

After starting the season with seven straight defeats, it almost seems inconceivable that Crystal Palace have a great chance at finishing in the top half of the table.

They go into the final game in 11th place, level on points with Newcastle in 10th and Bournemouth and Watford in 12th and 13th respectively. The Magpies are having to face Chelsea, and given that the two others have a much poorer goal difference, three points for Palace would almost certainly see them end the campaign in 10th.

Roy Hodgson has done a wonderful job since he was appointed as manager and so has Wilfried Zaha. The winger turned forward may have only netted eight times in the Premier League this term, but he's at the heart of everything the team do, and their record without him is far worse than it is with him.

As far as the team news goes, I can't see Hodgson making too many changes when a top 10 finish is at stake. He will also be wanting to extend their unbeaten run of five matches.


Baggies can hold their heads up high

You have to feel for Darren Moore and the West Brom supporters. He took over a hopeless situation from Alan Pardew and has remained undefeated with three wins and two draws. It's not like he had a kind run of fixtures either as they had to face Man United, Liverpool and Spurs - taking seven points from that trio.

Unfortunately for the manager of the month, a 1-0 win for Southampton at Swansea earlier in the week finally ended their slim chance of survival. They could still finish in 18th though, which although doesn't sound that impressive, the fact that they aren't bottom is almost a miracle in itself.

A bit like Hodgson, I can't imagine that Moore will want to finish the season with a defeat and end his team's unbeaten run. That's why I think he'll keep a similar line-up to the ones that have done him so proud already. Jonny Evans, Nacer Chadli and Daniel Sturridge will therefore have to settle for the bench at best.


Hodgson to complete a fine job

It's the hosts who are the favourites for this fixture and odds-on ones at that. It's not really a surprise, yes they both have plenty of momentum coming into the game, but the Eagles are the better side, have home advantage, and have a bit more of a carrot to pick up the victory.

Palace have won their last two at Selhurst Park, racking up eight goals in the process. They thrashed a sorry Leicester team when they last turned out in front of their own fans and they then showed great determination to come from behind to win at Stoke.

I can't really argue with the form of the Baggies either in all fairness. They have both won three and drawn two of their last five - and West Brom have faced tougher opponents.

My feeling here though is that the intensity levels of the West Brom players may drop a touch now that they are definitely down. In each game before this they still had a chance of survival, but now the best they can do is finish third from bottom - and does that really mean anything to the players themselves?

I'm pretty keen on the home win in this one at [1.84]. The visitors are too short at [4.9], and I don't think it will end as a draw - which is currently trading at around the [3.85] mark.

And if I've not done enough to tempt you to join me, then how about this Opta stat - Palace have won on both occasions they've finished the Premier League campaign at home, beating Sheffield Wednesday in 1997-98 and Swansea in 2014-15.


Goal backers should be cautious

I'm torn when it comes to the Over/Under 2.5 Goal market as I usually associate the last day of the season with lots of high-scoring affairs, and while that does often happen, I'm not keen to be backing Over 2.5 here at [1.8].

The stats just don't back it up enough as three of West Brom's last four away from the Hawthorns have all finished 1-0 either way, and despite their upturn in form, they remain in the bottom three lowest scoring teams in the division.

When it comes to the defensive side of the game, only nine clubs have conceded fewer goals than them this term, and their matches are averaging 2.3 goals each time - 21 of their 37 have had two or less.

Admittedly, Palace are on a run of four on the bounce to see Over 2.5 backers collect at Selhurst Park, but prior to that their previous four had all gone under. It's also worth noting that the last three meetings between this pair have finished 0-0, 0-2 and 0-1.

On the whole then, I'm keen to take a punt on Under 2.5 Goals at around the [2.16] mark. Fingers crossed.


Ref Watch

The man to take charge in this end of season encounter is Jonathan Moss and it will be his 35th match of the year. In his previous 34 he has shown 124 cards, with 120 being of the yellow variety. That is an average of 3.65 per game and I really can't see this being a nasty affair with loads of bookings.

***

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2017/18 P/L (1pt each bet)

Wagered: 67pts
Returned: 66.99pts
P/L: -0.01pts

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