Goals could be thin on the ground when West Brom take on Crystal Palace on Saturday evening.
This has presumably been scheduled so you can turn over and watch the second half of England v Ireland in the 6 Nations, or Empoli v Roma perhaps, or even the big West Wales rivalry between Aberystwyth Town and Carmarthen Town on S4C. Basically, if you’re tuning in you’re probably going to want to have a bet on this one.
West Brom ground out another 1-0 win in the last round of games as they held on against Everton despite facing more shots than any other team all season. The Baggies have had the fewest shots on target of all teams this season but it is a style that Tony Pulis has perfected to consistently get his teams finishing in the lower middle-third, even if it displays a lack of ambition to achieve anything greater or even a desire to produce any sort of entertainment for the fans.
West Brom have lost just four of their last 14 games despite scoring only 14 times, as six of the matches have finished all-square. If they are going to win then the 1-0 score has to be covered as it’s accounted for 10 of their 15 wins under Pulis (two 2-0s, two 2-1s and a 3-0 over Chelsea were the others). And there has to be a reasonable chance that they will win here given Palace’s recent form, which has seen them go over two months without a league victory.
Palace have just one point from their last seven games and have scored only four goals in their last nine. Prior to that they’d been fantastic though, particularly on the road and since Alan Pardew took over. Under Pardew, Palace have a W5-D3-L2 record away to bottom-half teams, though seven of these 10 games were goalless at half-time.
Part of Palace’s recent struggles has been down to injuries to key players and in particular to Yannick Bolasie. However, he came off the bench in last weekend’s Cup win and will be pushing for a start. Pulis’ sides are very tough to break down though, so we could see the teams cancel each other out, and with 13 of Pulis’ 19 games in charge against teams placed 9th-17th being level at half-time (10/19 0-0 at HT) backing a goalless opening period looks a decent bet.
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