West Brom are set to welcome Crystal Palace to the Hawthorns on the 6th December, and while Palace are just three places higher than the Baggies, they have seven more points. It will be a tough test for Slaven Bilic’s men, but one which they will take on with some positive momentum from the 1-0 win over Sheffield United last Saturday.
In this article, we will be putting together the best possible combined starting eleven consisting of players from West Brom and Crystal Palace, and the result might surprise you.
Feel free to mention any changes you’d make to the lineup in the comments below.
Sam JohnstoneEmbed from Getty Images
Sam Johnstone has been outstanding for the Baggies as of late. His heroics against Sheffield United essentially won West Brom the game. If the defence in front of him wasn’t so error-prone, his clean-sheet tally would undoubtedly be a lot higher.
Johnstone rivals Palace keeper Vicente Guaita for this spot. The pair have similar goalkeeping styles but Sam’s two clean-sheets just edges the single clean-sheet for the Brazilian shotstopper. It will be interesting to see who picks up the most by the end of the campaign.
Right-back: Darnell FurlongEmbed from Getty Images
Furlong’s performances for Albion so far this season have been very good, proving that he’s capable of making the step up to face Premier League attackers. He had many doubters, as did several other players in the first team, when Albion were promoted, with pundits and fans alike suggesting that he was Championship standard at best; but so far, he’s made the doubters eat their words, not just through his solid defending but also through his marauding runs down the flank, bolstering the frontline when on the attack.
Centre-back: Semi AjayiEmbed from Getty Images
Semi Ajayi had a rocky start to life in the Premier League: he looked gangly and uncomfortable when one-on-one with opposition strikers and was too easily beaten in the first few games; but clearly, Slaven has taken him aside and said something because the 27-year-old has swiftly transformed into a robust and confident figure in the Albion backline, consistently outperforming the defenders around him with ease.
It’s remarkable to think that the Baggies signed Ajayi for just £1.5m from Rotherham; surely, he’s worth five times that by now.
Centre-back: Scott DannEmbed from Getty Images
Scott Dann is a steady presence at the back for Crystal Palace and has been ever since he signed for the Eagles back in 2014. At 33 years old, you can expect him to bring a wealth of experience to a side, but what makes him even more of an asset to Palace is his natural ability to lead from the back, hence his wearing of the captain’s armband.
Dann is also a threat from set-pieces and has already picked up a goal this season.
Left-back: Patrick van AanholtEmbed from Getty Images
Like Furlong on the right-hand side of this team, Patrick van Aanholt’s marauding runs down the flank are what make him such an asset to have in the starting eleven: when not fulfilling his defensive responsibilities, the Dutchman bursts forward and looks to swing a ball into the centre – usually for the likes of Benteke or Palace’s talisman forward Wilfried Zaha.
His experience of Premier League football is something that Conor Townsend does not have, so Van Aanholt wins this spot in the combined eleven.