The best way to describe the recent game against Crystal Palace is, a game of two halves. The game ended 1-1 at Selhurst Park, and the game itself to the neutral, was a cracking game of premier league football.
The West Ham lineup was unchanged from the previous game against Liverpool, this was the right decision made by Pellegrini. The team played well against Liverpool and clearly deserved the 3 points. So to change a team which played so well, unless there are forced changes, is absurd.
We started the game brightly having our chances, forcing saves from their keeper. Snodgrass and Fredericks had the best chances, which really should have been put away. We kept plugging away at Palace, with Anderson and Cresswell running rings around the young full-back Wan-Bissaka in the first half, and Antonio showing his speed and strength too. Antonio feels like a new player, Pellegrini told him to get fit and he did, he took the challenge on, and he’s playing very well. So I’m pleased he’s getting “back to his best”.
We eventually found ourselves 1-0 up through a Mark Noble penalty, which was won by Antonio , after the keeper wiped him out in the box. The skipper then calmly stepped up and dispatched the penalty cooly into the bottom left.
We went into half-time 1-0 up, looking good and in control of the game. We had the best chances, and we needed to continue it. However, this wasn’t the case.
Palace dominated most of the second half, having 23 shots in total all game. However, only managing 5 on target. Their tricky players like Zaha were causing non-stop problems which Fredericks managed to deal with it for a large majority of the game.
Palace would eventually equalise through Zaha, after some neat footwork inside the box to beat Fredericks, before McArthur laid the ball back to him when he let off a shot which deflected off of Diop and over Fabianski.
Palace continued the onslaught throughout the rest of the half. The changes from Pellegrini for me were all wrong. Obiang isn’t the same player he was, he is a clear liability to the team, and taking off Antonio who was running his socks off, was the wrong choice. We then brought on Marko Arnautovic who proceeded to do nothing. To be fair to him, we had no style about us in the second half and failed to create any real goal scoring opportunities.
Whats next for West Ham? Its Premier League strugglers Fulham at home. We also have a short break in which the team will travel to train whilst the FA cup fixtures are played over the next week.