Premier League
Crystal PalaceCrystal Palace0West BromWest Bromwich Albion1

Crystal Palace 0-1 West Bromwich Albion

By Chris OsborneBBC Sport
Salomon Rondon
Salomon Rondon has scored in each of his past three West Brom games

Salomon Rondon's header was enough to give West Brom a narrow win over Crystal Palace in a dreary Premier League opener at Selhurst Park.

Both of these sides struggled for wins at the back end of last season and it showed in a game low on chances.

Crystal Palace debutant Andros Townsend failed to inspire the home side following his move from Newcastle.

Rondon flicked in James McClean's free-kick on 74 minutes for the only goal to hand Tony Pulis' side three points.

Both sides had just six Premier League wins between them in 2016 - two for Palace and four for West Brom. They also had the two lowest goal tallies in the league last season, aside from relegated Aston Villa.

The prospect of an opening-day thriller was always going to be optimistic.

And so it proved. The only opportunities of note, apart from the goal, were a Rondon header saved by Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey and Albion's Ben Foster charging down Wilfried Zaha when the forward was clean through.

Townsend toils, Bolasie's 'heart and soul elsewhere'

Andros Townsend touch map
Andros Townsend was full of running on his Palace debut, and regularly came in off the wing for shooting opportunities, as this touch map shows

Beaten FA Cup finalists Palace had finished 15th last term, one place below their opponents, but have been the more active in the transfer market, bringing in three players compared to Albion's one.

Only Townsend of those new arrivals featured, with defender James Tomkins injured and keeper Steve Mandanda left out of the squad. And while the England winger's effort could not be faulted, he failed to spark life into the side.

Boss Alan Pardew's immediate concern will be the future of forward Yannick Bolasie, who was instrumental in Palace's impressive first-half of the 2015-16 campaign.

Everton are in talks with the Eagles to sign Bolasie, and the DR Congo international came off the bench to a warm applause from the home support after 66 minutes.

"The deal is close and he will go with my best wishes. It's fair to say we know his heart and soul may be elsewhere," said Pardew of Bolasie's prospective move.

Berahino committed despite possible exit

Seven of West Brom's 10 Premier League wins last season finished 1-0 and with a new campaign, and a prospective new owner in Chinese businessman Guochuan Lai, came a familiar result.

Guochuan provided the 2,000 travelling Albion fans with free scarves, but the victory would have provided the more welcome fillip to supporters who grew restless at times last season with the style of football played under Pulis.

The Baggies named their only summer signing in the starting line-up - with winger Matt Phillips making a lively start before drifting out of the game - but Pulis has reiterated his intention to bring in five more players before the end of August.

Rondon, top scorer for West Brom last season, added to his 10 league goals for the club with a clever finish, but doubt over the future of his strike partner Saido Berahino continues.

Stoke are reportedly interested in the 23-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of the season but looked committed until he was taken off with five minutes to go.

"He won't be leaving unless we bring someone in," was Pulis' assessment of Berahino's potential move.

Man of the match - Salomon Rondon

Salomon Rondon
A nuisance for the Palace defence to deal with and always looked the most likely goal scorer on the pitch

What they said

Pardew says Bolasie's "heart and soul" is elsewhere

Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew: "We lacked a cutting edge, a moment, today. If we had scored first, we would've won.

"I thought we were pretty strong defensively, they didn't have many chances.

"West Brom are never easy, they camp the midfield, make it hard at the back and of course - set plays."

We hope we can keep Berahino - Pulis

West Brom boss Tony Pulis: "It was not a fluke. I think we deserved it. Palace never created a lot, they had just long range shots really. I'm very pleased.

"It is more important that we stay in the Premier League and Saido Berahino's goals will help us do that. We're hoping and praying we can keep him."

What's up next?

West Brom host Everton, while Palace go to Tottenham next Saturday - two teams who drew 1-1 with each other on the opening day.

The stats you need to know

  • Since Tony Pulis took charge on 10 January 2015, West Brom have kept 22 clean sheets in the top flight, a haul only Arsenal (26), Man City (23) and Man Utd (23) can better.
  • West Brom's past 11 Premier League wins have all been by a one-goal margin.
  • Crystal Palace have now lost 13 Premier League games in 2016 (level with Norwich), a figure only Aston Villa (14) can better.
  • The Eagles have won only one of their past nine season openers held at Selhurst Park (D4 L4).

Line-ups

Crystal Palace

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 13Hennessey
  • 2Ward
  • 6Dann
  • 27Delaney
  • 23SouaréSubstituted forKellyat 90+3'minutes
  • 15Jedinak
  • 42PuncheonSubstituted forCabayeat 77'minutes
  • 17Townsend
  • 14LeeSubstituted forBolasieat 66'minutesBooked at 87mins
  • 11ZahaBooked at 84mins
  • 21Wickham

Substitutes

  • 1Speroni
  • 7Cabaye
  • 10Bolasie
  • 16Ledley
  • 24Anderson
  • 34Kelly
  • 36Ladapo

West Brom

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Foster
  • 25DawsonBooked at 35mins
  • 23McAuley
  • 3Olsson
  • 6EvansBooked at 84mins
  • 10Phillips
  • 24Fletcher
  • 5Yacob
  • 8GardnerSubstituted forMcCleanat 71'minutes
  • 9Rondón
  • 18BerahinoSubstituted forMorrisonat 86'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Morrison
  • 13Myhill
  • 14McClean
  • 17Lambert
  • 45Leko
  • 47Field
  • 49Wilson
Referee:
Craig Pawson
Attendance:
24,490

Match Stats

Home TeamCrystal PalaceAway TeamWest Brom
Possession
Home62%
Away38%
Shots
Home14
Away13
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home3
Away6
Fouls
Home12
Away15

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Crystal Palace 0, West Bromwich Albion 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 0, West Bromwich Albion 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left from a direct free kick.

  4. Post update

    Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion).

  6. Post update

    Attempt saved. Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Mile Jedinak.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Crystal Palace. Martin Kelly replaces Pape Souaré.

  8. Post update

    Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Andros Townsend.

  9. Post update

    Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Pape Souaré.

  10. Booking

    Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace).

  12. Post update

    Jonas Olsson (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Scott Dann (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Salomón Rondón (West Bromwich Albion).

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. James Morrison replaces Saido Berahino.

  16. Booking

    Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card.

  17. Booking

    Jonny Evans (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  18. Post update

    Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Jonny Evans (West Bromwich Albion).

  20. Post update

    Attempt missed. Scott Dann (Crystal Palace) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Yohan Cabaye with a cross following a corner.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Hull11002113
2Man City11002113
3Swansea11001013
4West Brom11001013
5Everton10101101
6Middlesbrough10101101
7Southampton10101101
8Stoke10101101
9Tottenham10101101
10Watford10101101
11Arsenal00000000
12Bournemouth00000000
13Chelsea00000000
14Liverpool00000000
15Man Utd00000000
16West Ham00000000
17Leicester100112-10
18Sunderland100112-10
19Burnley100101-10
20Crystal Palace100101-10
View full Premier League table

Top Stories

Explore the BBC