West Ham United 1-2 Crystal Palace
WEST HAM UNITED’S unbeaten Premier League streak was brought to its conclusion after VAR intervened, allowing a late Jordan Ayew goal after the Crystal Palace man strike was initially ruled out for a marginal off-side decision.
The Hammers draw at Bournemouth a week previous had extended their unbeaten league sequence to seven matches, with defender, Aaron Cresswell netting in both that match as well as during the 2-0 success over Manchester United. And the 29-year-old spoke bullishly ahead of facing the south Londoners.
“It always breeds confidence when you look at the table and see you’re in the top five and you have twelve points from seven games, considering the position we were in at the same stage last season when we didn’t win any of our first three games,” he explained.
“The way the manager wants us to play, it was always going to take time, but we’re certainly reaping the rewards now.
“We know Palace have got good players, and I’ll be up against Wilfried Zaha, who has been outstanding for a number of years and is one of their danger men, but we’re going to focus on us, rather than them.
“With the form we are in and the results we’ve had, there’s no reason why we can’t go into this game aiming to get the three points.”
Palace themselves have enjoyed a decent start to the campaign – losing only two of their opening eight league outings. However, in an opening half of few chances, neither side lived particularly up to their pre-match billing.
Indeed, it took almost half an hour for the first clear-cut opportunity – Palace stopper, Vicente Guaita, saving point-blank from Sebastien Haller, this after Andriy Yarmolenko had fashioned the opening from the right.
Ryan Fredericks provided a couple of decent openings for Felipe Anderson. The first wildly miscued, then a goalbound header swallowed up comfortably by Guaita as West Ham offered the sterner threat.
Zaha’s quick feet set up a chance for Jeffrey Schlupp – But the former Leicester man was denied an opening goal as Fredericks recovered to hack off the line in the nick of time.
Guaita again saved from Haller – this time after Gary Cahill’s clearance had rebounded back off the Frenchman. Meanwhile, Roberto – in for the injured Lukasz Fabianski – did well to turn away James McCarthy’s thumping strike and Lanzini fired the wrong side of an upright as the teams continued to toil fruitlessly.
Angelo Ogbonna somehow missed the target – firing over from close range – as West Ham continued to press after the break. But having waited patiently for the best part of an hour, Haller arrived to meet Fredericks low centre – this time, Guaita was unable to rebuff the effort, much to the delight of the home crowd.
But Palace was soon handed an opportunity to restore parity. Declan Rice was adjudged to have handled as Cheikhou Kouyate attempted to hook into the danger zone – Partick van Aanholt thumping home the resulting spot-kick.
The game had certainly evolved after its mediocre beginnings. Dramatically, Ayew thought he’d won it for Palace – referee, Michael Oliver initially chalking off his close-range effort on the advice of an assistant. But after the intervention of VAR, the decision was overturned, handing the visitors a late lead and sparking a mass exodus amongst those of a claret and blues persuasion.
In fairness, Palace had shown the greater initiative during the final stages of the match and despite the frustrating wait for a ruling, the winning goal was correct, allowing Roy Hodgson’s men to leapfrog the Hammers into fourth place.
West Ham United return to Premier League action on Saturday, October 19 when they face Everton at Goodison Park (12:30pm)
West Ham United: Roberto, Aaron Cresswell (Pablo Zabaleta 84’), Andriy Yarmolenko (Jack Wilshere 78’), Felipe Anderson, Manuel Lanzini (Pablo Fornals 69’), Mark Noble (Capt), Angelo Ogbonna, Sebastien Haller, Issa Diop, Ryan Fredericks, Declan Rice Subs not used: David Martin (GK), Fabian Balbuena, Robert Snodgrass, Albian Ajeti
Booked: Andriy Yarmolenko (foul), Sebastien Haller (foul), Ryan Fredericks (foul)
Goals: Sebastien Haller 53’
Crystal Palace: Vicente Guaita, Joel Ward, Patrick van Aanholt, Chiekhou Kouyate, Jordan Ayew (Christian Benteke 89’), Wilfried Zaha, Jeffrey Schlupp, James McArthur, James McCarthy (Andros Townsend 81’), Gary Cahill (Capt), Martin Kelly Subs not used: Wayne Hennessey (GK), James Tomkins, Scott Dann, Max Mayer, Victor Camarasa
Booked: Joel Ward (foul)
Goals: Patrick van Aanholt (penalty) 63’, Jordan Ayew 88’
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistants: Stuart Burt and Gary Beswick
Fourth Official: Peter Barnes
Reaction to follow….