Feeling compelled to write for us this week is Dan from Baggies Facts. He had little to do this weekend seeing as Palace knocked his beloved Baggies out of the FA Cup in the last round.
Before the third round tie at the Hawthorns, we had a bet that the loser would do a preview of the fourth round tie for the winner. So fulfilling his part of the bet, here are his views on the trip for Palace to Wigan this weekend.
This weekend Crystal Palace will take on FA Cup holders Wigan Athletic in what will be just the fourth meeting between the two teams and the first in the world’s oldest football competition.
In the previous three matches between the Eagles and the Latics (two league, one League Cup) there has been one win for each side and a draw. The last game between the sides was the Palace victory in the League Cup in October 2011. The scorers that day were Ambrose and Williams.
Crystal Palace haven’t made the fourth round of the FA Cup since the 2009/10 season. The Eagles progressed to the fifth round that season before eventually being knocked out by Aston Villa in a replay at Selhurst Park. The game finished 3-1 with Darren Ambrose scoring from the penalty spot.
Since Tony Pulis’ second game in charge (1-0 home win versus West Ham) Crystal Palace have not lost to any of the teams currently in tenth position or lower in the Premier League. That includes victories against West Ham United, Cardiff City, Aston Villa, Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion (Cup) and a draw against Norwich City.
This goes a long way to proving that in games against sides of a similar quality Pulis gets that extra bit out of his team. Despite there potentially being changes in this cup tie with Wigan, there is no doubt Tony Pulis will be taking the match as seriously as he did at The Hawthorns in the third round earlier this month.
Wigan Athletic have conceded first on twelve occasions in the Championship this season and have gone on to win just two of those games. This statistic could prove to be vital as Tony Pulis’ Palace side have shown they are very hard to break down, especially after going one-nil up. An early goal could be key in this tie.
One of the most notable performers this season for the Eagles is tough-tackling Joel Ward. The twenty-four year old former Portsmouth man has made more successful tackles than any other player in the entire Premier League on sixty-six.
Ward has been an integral part of Palace’s squad and has only missed two league games, in fact he has yet to be subbed off at any point this term.
The former Bournemouth loanee only missed the recent FA Cup trip to West Bromwich Albion to give other players an opportunity. Ward has played at right-back, left-back and in midfield positions since Pulis’ arrival at the club and as well as being versatile he has also shown a willingness to get forward from whichever position he is playing in. So far this season Ward has created 12 goal scoring opportunities for team-mates.
Former Crystal Palace players Ben Watson and Emmerson Boyce have played a lot of football for the Greater Manchester club this season. The former has netted three times in 26 matches (all competitions) so far. It was Watson who scored in injury time to send Latics fans into raptures as they overcame Manchester City 1-0 in last season’s FA Cup Final. Boyce, who played for Palace for two years between 2004 and 2006 has netted once in 32 games across five different competitions this season (Championship, Community Shield, Europa League, League Cup, FA Cup).
The man in the middle at the DW Stadium will be Mike Jones. The Cheshire based official has taken charge of twenty matches in the Premier League, Championship, League One, League Cup and FA Cup this season. Jones has on the whole kept things quiet; he has only awarded two penalties and two red cards this season, one of those was thanks to a second bookable offence.
This season’s FA Cup has seen 737 teams enter at various different stages. There are now just 32 clubs remaining. Crystal Palace are twelfth favourite to lift the famous trophy with popular bookmaker PaddyPower at 50/1.
You can decide whether you think that’s worth a couple of quid or not!