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October 2 2023 8.34am

Key clashes: Palace v West Brom

May 10 2018

James Tomkins

James Tomkins

In the final game of the season, Crystal Palace host already-relegated West Brom and Hunter Young looks at three battles that could decide the clash.

Palace secured survival in the Premier League last weekend after defeating Stoke City 2-1. That match extended the Eagles' unbeaten run to five games and another victory on the last day would make the attitude around the club very positive going into the summer.

West Brom have also not lost in five. However, their good run came too late in the season and they have already ensured Championship football next season. When Palace travelled to the Hawthorns earlier in the year, the fixture ended in a 0-0 draw and a more exciting match is on the cards.

James Tomkins v Salomon Rondon

One of the few players who had a chance of challenging Zaha for player of the year is James Tomkins after putting together an excellent season at the heart of the Palace defence. The Englishman has helped prevent the opposition from scoring in open play in the last three games with the only goal conceded in that span was a deflected free-kick.

Many of West Brom’s players will likely see this game as their last opportunity to convince other Premier League clubs to make a move for them this summer and save them from the Championship. Rondon, along with striker partner Jay Rodriguez, is one of the players who will be looking to seize this chance. Rondon and Rodriguez have had almost identical statistical seasons with both forwards amassing seven goals, while Rondon has four assists to Rodriguez’s three. If the Baggies are to be kept out of the net, then keeping the Venezuelan Rondon quiet will be essential.

Wilfried Zaha v Ahmed Hegazi

All Palace fans know the impact that Wilfried Zaha has upon this team. Whenever Zaha is on the pitch the Eagles are feared by any Premier League side. Zaha was awarded this week with the Palace player of the year award for the third consecutive season and there is little doubt that it was a deserved honour. Zaha will be looking to end the campaign on a high note with another goal at Selhurst Park.

Ahmed Hegazi has been a very solid and ever present defender for West Brom this season, appearing in all 37 games. The Egyptian joined the Baggies on loan over the summer and they activated the clause to make his transfer permeant in December. Hegazi is also second in the Premier League in both clearances and headed clearances. If Zaha is to be kept off the score-sheet, then Hegazi will have to be on top of his game.

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Wayne Hennessey v Wayne Hennessey

Throughout his tenure at Palace, Wayne Hennessey has often proven to be his own worst enemy. The Welshman has a tendency to mix great performances with howlers, the 1-0 loss at Aston Villa from a few years ago comes to mind. Hennessey has been on a very solid run of form in recent weeks and needs to finish the season strong as he looks to be facing stiff competition this summer from the incoming keeper Vicente Guaita.

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