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Albion blog: Bring on United

Sport | Published:

Surely even the harshest of critics must appreciate how we have gone about our business in the last three Premier League games? Dare I say it has been exciting to watch?

On the back of a gritty victory at an in form Everton came a pulsating contest (in the league) with Crystal Palace...writes Albion blogger Duncan Hodgkiss.

They are having a bad trot currently but still produced a spirited second half display, despite being completely outplayed and three goals down in the first half.

The Palace fight back underlines the fact of just how competitive a league this is. Nothing can be taken for granted and every victory should be savoured.

We effectively set up with a three pronged attack, which morphed into a 4-5-1 when under pressure. The first half was a complete display of power, aggression and dominance. Our front three ran Palace ragged as they failed to deal with the intelligent and powerful running of Rondon and the subtle interchanges between Sessegnon and Berahino.

It was a showing that must have had the purists purring, capped by a wonderful through ball by Sess and finish past the hapless Hennessey by Berahino for our third. The Hawthorns must not hold too many happy memories for Hennessey, long may that continue.

In the second half we sat back a little but still looked very dangerous on the break. We could, and possibly should, have extended our lead on a number of occasions, only to be thwarted by the frame of the goal and bad luck.

A bad mistake by Olsson and a very well struck second by Wickham ensured a nervy ending to a cracking game. The excellent Gardner clearing off the line to preserve our lead at the death.

Just a side note on Olsson. Not the best performance against Palace and a little shaky against Leicester (who is comfortable against Vardy and co?) and the pension brokers are out in force on social media again. Are they on commission? It is worth remembering the all action 'man of the match' performance at Everton prior to this that secured an unlikely victory for us. A spent force he isn't.

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Onto the Leicester game and another fantastic display of courage, determination and graft saw us secure a very respectable point, where many others have failed this season.

Rondon is now demonstrating his full array of attributes, he shrugged of Huth with ease and slotted home to put us a goal to the good. We were a touch unlucky with their equaliser, a cruel deflection looping over Foster giving them the initiative.

Sessegnon collected a booking for arguing with the linesman which was ridiculous considering the shocking challenge he had just endured from Fuchs. Pulis was clearly incensed by this, surely there must be grounds for appeal given the nature of the challenge?

Leicester continued to press and got themselves in front with a great team goal. It cranked the already fever pitch atmosphere up a few notches and set the tone for an Alamo style assault on our goal in the second period.

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A little bit of luck coupled with concentration and determination kept Leicester at bay. Vardy looked every bit the player people are talking about this season, he was a constant menace and at times unplayable. He will surely move on next season.

We equalised with a superb strike from Gardner, who must have thought his luck was in, going close with a couple of long range attempts when others were possibly better placed to receive a pass.

We now sit comfortably in 13th on 36 points with 10 games remaining. This is a great achievement and should not be sniffed at. It should allow us to play with a bit of freedom and really push for our record of 49 points in a season which is very achievable.

It would be typical of our fortunes to exceed this target and see Pulis leave in the summer. I hope not but remain doubtful he will stay on.

Duncan Hodgkiss

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