Crystal Palace – West Brom: Luka Milivojevic’s VAR-awarded first-half penalty was decisive as Crystal Palace all but sealed another year in the Premier League while sinking West Bromwich Albion’s chances of survival to near impossibility after a 1-0 win at Selhurst Park.
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Palace is onto 37 points, 11 points clear of the bottom three, while West Brom is eight points back of 17th and 18th with more matches played than both.
Three things we learned from Crystal Palace – West Brom
1. VAR spots penalty: Darnell Furlong handled a Wilfried Zaha shot and, really, that was all she wrote at Selhurst Park. Palace had more chances but the lack of VAR would’ve played a significant role in two teams survival hopes and it was properly implemented on Saturday.
2. Baggies lack cutting edge, about to drop: Matheus Pereira and Conor Gallagher are lively, Matty Phillips savvy, and Mbaye Diagne has shown value as a target man, but there was no answer for the packed-in Palace defense. Chances for points are still in the offing but less and less likely with Chelsea, Southampton, Leicester City, and Aston Villa next.
West Brom had seven points from 13 matches when Slaven Bilic was fired following a 1-1 draw with Man City that showed some promise. They have taken 11 points from 16 under Sam Allardyce, Slightly better, points-per-game, but not nearly enough.
3. Palace will be safe: Wilfried Zaha’s return to the lineup is a big deal and the three points are enough even with some challenging fixtures ahead. The Eagles have Everton, Chelsea, Leicester City, Man City, Aston Villa, Arsenal, and Liverpool left on the docket. These three points really mattered.
Man of the Match: Vicente Guaita
Always in position and made a good save on the Baggies’ only shot on target.
Crystal Palace – West Brom recap
Conor Gallagher and Okay Yokuslu were active in West Brom’s attack early, the latter curling a 15-yard shot wide of the near post.
VAR helped put Palace ahead as Wilfried Zaha’s shot was handled from close but not too close range by Darnell Furling and Milivojevic rarely misses penalties. 1-0, 37′.
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West Brom assumed possession in the second half, for the most part, but Palace was well-drilled at defending inside their 18 and the Baggies lacked the cutting edge to find a way through the pack.