TOMORROW sees 16th play 17th in the Barclays Premier League as Albion visit Crystal Palace (ko 3pm). Here, the guys over at football statistics website WhoScored.com take a look at the numbers ahead of the clash.
Joint on 23 points, this game is a real six-pointer at present, but both teams undoubtedly harbour hopes of moving clear of the relegation battle sooner rather than later.
The Baggies are still adjusting to a different playing style under new head coach Pepe Mel, but that is likely to come good and their opponents when that happens will suffer the consequences.
They have given serious hints that Mel’s philosophy is starting to work, with the performances in recent draws against high-fliers Everton and Liverpool certainly giving great reason for optimism.
Having scored six goals in their last three away games, Albion have a good chance of breaking down Tony Pulis’ stubborn Palace backline.
They have conceded an average of a goal per game over their last six home matches in the top flight, and with the Baggies averaging two per game of late on the road, they should be confident of breaking their opponents down on at least one occasion.
What is more, Albion are undefeated in their last three trips to Selhurst Park, drawing twice and winning once, with their last defeat at the ground coming way back in 2004, when the sides were last in the Premier League together.
Since then, however, the two teams have enjoyed vastly differing fortunes – and there is no doubt the Baggies have top-flight experience on their side.
Among those players is Zoltan Gera, who scored the opener last time Albion won at Palace.
The Hungarian has helped Albion out of trouble before and could be vital as they look to move up the rankings in the final part of this season, having played well in last week’s draw with the Reds.
An all-rounder, Gera is key both with and without the ball, flitting around in behind the striker, creating space for runners before playing them in, but also in setting up defensively.
He could be set for a run of games in the first team and that could reap rewards, with the midfielder averaging a goal every 4.25 starts since the beginning of last season.
*WhoScored.com is a unique website and one of the fastest growing in the sports industry, specialising in the in-depth analysis of detailed football data. Provided with unique stats, they compile and create comprehensive analysis on the major European divisions, including live match stats and player ratings. Follow @WhoScored and their editor-in-chief @alitweedale on Twitter.
All-time results record (League, FA Cup and League Cup)
Albion have lost just one of their last ten trips to Crystal Palace - a 3-0 Barclays Premier League defeat in 2004.
The Eagles have netted only three goals in their last six games - with Jason Puncheon grabbing them all.
Palace are the league's lowest scorers with just 15 goals. The Baggies have recorded 28 goals.
However, the hosts have kept five clean sheets in their last seven league fixtures at Selhurst Park.
Palace winger Jerome Thomas scored 13 goals in 106 appearances for Albion in all competitions.
Last time out
HOME: Premier League, Saturday, November 2 2013, Albion 2 (Berahino 44, McAuley 83) Crystal Palace 0; FA Cup, Saturday, January 4, 2014, Albion 0 Crystal Palace 2 (Gayle 23, Chamakh 90)
AWAY: Championship, Saturday, April 26, 2010, Crystal Palace 1 (Reid og 17) Albion 1 (Tamas 21)
Form guide (last six matches)
Last match line-ups
ALBION (v Liverpool – home D 1-1): Foster; Jones, McAuley, Olsson (Lugano 41), Ridgewell; Yacob, Mulumbu; Gera; Berahino (Anichebe 64), Vydra (Dorrans 76), Brunt (c). Subs not used: Myhill (gk), Reid, Sinclair, Amalfitano.
CRYSTAL PALACE (v Hull - home W 1-0): Speroni, Mariappa, Gabbidon (O'Keefe 79), Delaney, Moxey, Puncheon, Ward, Jedinak, Bolasie (McCarthy 64), Chamakh (Wilbraham 86), Jerome. Subs not used: Price (gk), Williams, Bannan, Gayle.
Palace team news
Palace could hand debuts to deadline-day signings Tom Ince, Scott Dann and Joe Ledley, while Wayne Hennessey is again expected to be included in Tony Pulis' squad. Glenn Murray edges closer to a return as he steps up his rehabilitation, while Jerome Thomas, who is recovering from a calf injury, is not likely to be fit.
Chris Foy will referee Saturday’s game. The Merseyside official last oversaw Albion in December's 3-2 home defeat by Manchester City. Foy has dished out 57 yellow and four red cards in 22 games this term.
Selected odds from Sky Bet:
Palace to win: 6/4
Albion to win: 15/8
Dwight Gayle to score first: 6/1
Saido Berahino to score first: 15/2
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