West Ham 1-1 Crystal Palace – Match Report
Author: Brian Knox. Published: 30 January 2018 at 10:55pm
Match Report by @WestHamAmerican
West Ham drew 1-1 with Crystal Palace tonight, in a Premier League match at the London Stadium that featured a home side suffering from multiple injuries and suspensions. David Moyes actually played six natural defenders and two defensive midfielders, with the attacking options of Lanzini, Arnautović, Antonio, and Carroll absent. For Palace, they, like West Ham, have been on a recent good run of form under the new leadership of Roy Hodgson. After a record-setting poor start to the season, the Eagles have reached safety and were looking to grow their margin.
Early on, West Ham almost took the lead as Sam Byram sent a ball in but Javier Hernandez was not quick enough to beat the James Tomkins clearance from six yards out.
Moments later, Crystal Palace took advantage of West Ham’s youthful defending (and Aaron Cresswell playing too deep) as Andros Townsend led a counter attack against Declan Rice, found Christian Benteke in the middle of the area for a short range header which gave the visitors the 0-1 lead.
Given the Hammer’s defensive shape, any deficit was dangerous. Fortunately for the hosts, their opportunity to equalise came just before the break. Hernandez was driving deep in the penalty area when Tomkins challenged him and Neil Swarbrick awarded a spot kick. Mark Noble was able to convert the penalty kick, his 50th West Ham goal, and the Hammers were even at the break.
The second half featured two sides trying not to lose the match. In the 50th Chicharito did have a short range header that somehow Wayne Hennessey was able to stop. On the other side, Adrian wasn’t under too much duress during the closing half.
By the three minutes of added time, neither side looked too threatening. After the final whistle sounded, West Ham somehow found themselves at 10th in the table and Palace has climbed to 12th. Sadly 10th place is only four points from relegation in this tight season at the bottom half of the table.
Given the roster challenges, for Moyes to exit with a point was a fair result. Given the poor play at Wigan, no one knew how this injured team would fare. As usual, the presence of Mark Noble helped immensely. Another observation was that João Mário, making his debut from Inter Milan, showed that he will be a contributor and help this club in the second half of the season.
The recovery time is short, as Saturday West Ham will travel to East Sussex to face Brighton. Whether Antonio will feature, and whether Hernandez can finish some of his opportunities will be questions that remain until then. Over the next 24 hours the big questions focus on the January transfer window. It is hard to think that West Ham can stave off relegation without some new weapons in the starting XI. A few more injuries and this club is in very deep trouble. Hopefully tomorrow will provide West Ham supporters with a surprise or two.
Keep up with TheWestHamWay.co.uk for all the latest transfer news. And listen to The West Ham Way on Phoenix Radio tomorrow evening.
West Ham: Adrian, Cresswell, Zabaleta, Byram, Rice, Collins, Kouyate, Noble, Joao Mario, Ogbonna, Hernandez.
Subs: Hart, Fonte, Oxford (86), Cullen, Haksabanovic, Quina, Martinez
Palace: Hennessey, van Aanholt, Tomkins, Fosu-Mensah, Kelly, Milivojevic, Bakary Sako, McArthur, Townsend, Zaha, Benteke.
Subs: Speroni, Sakho, Ward, Riedewald, Square, Cayabe, Lee