West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Crystal Palace: Alan Pardew's Hawthorns reign begins with stalemate
By Richard Morgan
Last Updated: 02/12/17 7:07pm
Alan Pardew's first game in charge of West Brom ended in a goalless draw with fellow strugglers Crystal Palace at The Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon.
Both sides struggled to create any meaningful openings, with the closest either coming to breaking the deadlock arriving after a controversial first-half incident.
However, referee Michael Oliver decided that West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster had not upended Palace forward Wilfried Zaha in the box and the two teams had to settle for a point apiece.
West Brom: Foster (7), Nyom (7), Evans (9), Gibbs (8), Hegazi (7), Field (7), Barry (6), Livermore (5), Robson-Kanu (6), Rondon (6), Rodriguez (6)
Subs: Yacob (6), McClean (6), Burke (6)
Palace: Speroni (8), Ward (8), Sakho (9), Schlupp (6), Kelly (6), Milivojevic (7), McArthur (6), Loftus-Cheek (7), Townsend (7), Zaha (7), Benteke (7)
Subs: Sako (6), Puncheon (6)
Man of the match: Mamadou Sakho
As a result, 18th-placed Palace have now moved off the bottom of the Premier League for the first time this season and remain three points behind their hosts - without a league win since August - and safety.
In a first half largely devoid of action, there was one major talking point after 18 minutes following a back pass from West Brom right-back Allan Nyom.
There appeared little danger, that is until Foster miscontrolled the ball, allowing the always alert Zaha to steal in and gain possession, only for the Baggies No 1 to then bring the forward down.
The man in the middle, though, waved play on, much to Zaha's and Palace's disbelief.
Other than that, the visitors - still looking to score their first away goal of the season in the league - tried to largely catch their opponents on the break, and they nearly did four minutes before the break.
However, after Christian Benteke had somehow dribbled his way through a posse of West Brom defenders on the edge of the area, Foster raced off his line to make an excellent smothering stop.
West Brom had left-back Kieran Gibbs available, but midfielder Matt Phillips missed out with injury.
Palace were without both Yohan Cabaye and Scott Dann, although Luka Milivojevic and Jeffrey Schlupp had recovered from injuries to start.
The home side, meanwhile, stepped up the pace in the second period, only for Julian Speroni - in for Wayne Hennessey after the Wales international was injured in the warm-up - to deny Jay Rodriguez with a smart block.
- Pardew became the fifth manager to take charge of at least five different Premier League clubs. Indeed, Pardew has won three and drawn two of his opening games with his five sides
- Palace are the first Premier League team to fail to score in 10 consecutive away games (D2 L8)
- The Eagles are the first English top-flight team to go 10 away games in a row without a goal since Man City in 1950 (12 games)
- West Brom attempted 20 shots versus Crystal Palace, their highest tally in a Premier League game since December 2015 versus Newcastle (22)
- Palace have kept consecutive away Premier League clean sheets for the first time since January 2015
- The Baggies have picked up just 32 points from their 34 Premier League games in 2017 (W7 D11 L16), the fewest total of any PL side to appear in the last two seasons
Man of the match - Mamadou Sakho
The Palace captain was once again a rock at the heart of the visitors' defence, shepherding his team through to a second clean sheet on the road in the space of just four days.
The imposing France international was there in the right place at the right time to make a succession of important blocks and clearances, while his distribution from the back was also impressive.
Alan Pardew: I just think that everything was there in terms of application and attitude and maybe just a little bit of composure, which is understandable given the run of games we have had.
But I was genuinely pleased with the drive of the team. We had a lot of quality missing today in terms of injured players and we lost Gareth Barry early, which was a blow.
But the response I had from the guys was great and if we go forward like that, we will have nothing to worry about.
Roy Hodgson: Overnight we lose Scott Dann to a problem he had with a virus infection. And then in the warm-up we lose Wayne Hennessey.
But probably the worst thing to happen to us was leaving Euston Station in the sunshine and congratulating ourselves on going by train with only an hour and quarter's journey in front of us.
And we eventually took five and a half hours. And three and a half of that was spent in a cold black situation on the train with no electricity, lights, toilet facilities, nothing at all.
West Brom travel to fellow strugglers Swansea City, while Palace entertain Bournemouth, with both matches taking place on Saturday, December 9.