Crystal Palace welcomed West Ham United to Selhurst Park on Saturday just 4 days after an embarrassing performance losing to Bristol City in the League Cup.
|Crystal Palace||2-2||West Ham United|
|Dann 84′||Yellow Cards||Zabaleta 37′|
|Milivojevic 50′ (p), Zaha 90+7′||Goal Scorers||Chicharito 31′, Ayew 43′|
The Expat Eagle’s Verdict
Crystal Palace nicked a point against West Ham with a last-gasp equaliser scored by Wilfried Zaha.
Javier Hernandez opened the scoring with a well-executed finish after some awful defending by The Eagles. Andre Ayew doubled the advantage with a clean strike from 20 yards on the stroke of half-time.
Five minutes into the second half, Andros Townsend was brought down by Angelo Ogbonna in the box and Luka Milivojevic fired Palace back into the game. Wilfried Zaha scored in the 7th minute of stoppage time to rescue a draw.
In a game that was the atypical game of two halves, Palace we bloody awful in the first half. We gave away two sloppy goals which showed up how terrible we are in defence.
Conspicuous by his absence was Mamadou Sakho, with no word, rhyme or reason as to why he was omitted from the team. Presumably, it was through injury but nobody seemed to be aware he had an injury this week and at the time of writing, I can only presume he was withdrawn during the build-up to the game on Saturday.
In the first, Cresswell had all the time in the world on the left side of the Palace box to pick out a pass that Hernandez fired past Speroni with 3 Palace defenders in front of him. In the next Ayew was running at Dann, sending him left then right then left before unleashing a long-range strike past Speroni who could do little to stop it.
In the second half, Townsend went down in the box under a tackle which didn’t look too dissimilar to the one on Zaha right before West Ham scored their opener. From the replays I’ve seen, there seemed to be the same about of contact on the Palace players in both situations but we didn’t get the first one, we did get the second one.
Luka Milivojevic scored a decent if unconvincing penalty, sending Joe Hart the wrong way. Had Hart guessed correctly then the penalty was at a perfect height to have been saved quite easily. But that is being overly critical because Hart didn’t guess correctly.
Game on! Palace were a team transformed from the first half. Like many fans, I was expecting the worst at half-time but with the wind in our sails, we were all over the ‘happy hammers’ who were well and truly on the back foot.
Unfortunately, as with last week at Newcastle, our lack of striker showed in that we had 19 attempts on goal, just 9 on target. West Ham had just 6 attempts at goal, 2 of which were on target.
You don’t get many opportunities to score in the Premier League so when you do you need to at least get a shot on target. We badly need to address this issue with Benteke seemingly having had a set-back and is rumoured to be still 6-7 weeks off being fit. Even so, I am doubtful that he is the solution to our problems.
As former Palace chairman, Simon Jordan said in mid-week we might be better off without the big man because he forces us to play a different way. A slower way and maybe what we need is a faster, pacy striker rather than someone who is good in the air.
Palace got the reward they deserved in the 7th minute of stoppage time when Loftus-Cheek fed the ball to Zaha who turned and cut back on the left side of the box before firing a shot past Joe Hart who was having a very good performance in the West Ham goal. Typically!
All in all, Hart made 4 very good saves and we hit the post/crossbar 4 times so while we fully deserved the point and was relieved to get it we could feel a little robbed that we didn’t get the win our second-half performance deserved.
Verdict: Once again our first half performance resulted in us having to make up the ground we lost by a dire first-half performance. Maybe Roy should give a half-time team talk before the game?
|Crystal Palace (442)||6.91||West Ham United (352)||6.89|
Match rating courtesy of WhoScored.
||West Ham United
|Ball Possession %
Match statistics courtesy of WhoScored.