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Crystal Palace 2-3 West Ham United
In-form West Ham United recorded their fourth successive Premier League victory and their tenth of the campaign as capital rivals, Crystal Palace, were brushed aside by performance far more impressive than the result suggested.
Hammers chief, David Moyes, was keen to keep his feet on the ground ahead of the clash: “I always think that going to Crystal Palace is a tough game for anybody” the Scotsman explained.
“They’re incredibly well organised by their manager. Going to Selhurst Park has always been difficult. We’ll try and go there with confidence. We played them quite recently.
“It’s a quick turnaround since our last game, but we’ll be back to play Palace in a hard away game. That’s the way we’ll look at it.”
And a tough night appeared on the cards for Moyes’s men – Wilfried Zaha profiting from Christain Benteke’s toil before fizzing a low strike beyond Lukasz Fabianski and into the bottom corner of the Hammers net.
But the home sides’ lead lasted just five minutes. Tomas Soucek headed West Ham level from close range, this after Michail Antonio and Pablo Fornnals had fashioned an opening from the right.
Buoyed by the quick response, West Ham and Soucek turned the contest on its head by the midway point of the half. The Czech on hand to notch his seventh goal of the season after Aaron Cresswell had picked him out and VAR had had a look.
Palace were wobbling. Goalkeeper, Vicente Guaita, did extremely well to deny Antonio and Soucek as the East Londoners went for the kill. Indeed, it was one-way traffic at this stage. Antonio guiding Cresswell’s crisp effort against the foot of a post as Palace hung on grimly.
Fabianski did well to snub out Zaha immediately after the restart. But largely, it was the visitors who continued to control proceedings. Guaita denied Antonio from point-blank range after Said Benrahma and Cresswell had fashioned an opening. Soon after, the Palace stopper thwarted Jarrod Bowen – Benramha again the architect. But another goal was coming. Craig Dawson arrived to meet Bowen’s flag-kick – this time Guaita powerless as the ball flashed into the net.
Antonio continued to cause a menace, but his luck appeared to be out as he diverted another effort the wrong side of an upright.
Zaha wasn’t far away from reducing the arrears – Fabianski rooted to the spot and relieved as the attempt flashed wide. Meanwhile, James McArthur fired over as the hosts pressed fruitlessly.
Substitute, Michy Batshuayi did pull one back in stoppage-time. But Palace’s race was long since run. The only real surprise that the Hammers margin of victory wasn’t far greater.
West Ham United return to Premier League action on Sunday, January 31 when Liverpool visit the London Stadium (4:30pm).
Crystal Palace: Vicente Guaita, Joel Ward, Gary Cahill, Cheikhou Kouyate, Tyrick Mitchell, Andros Townsend (Michy Batshuayi 66’), Luka Milivojevic (Capt) (Jario Riedewald 73’), James McArthur, Eberechi Eze, Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke (Jordan Ayew 73’) Subs not used: Jack Butland (GK), Patrick van Aanholt, Scott Dann, Nathaniel Clyne, James McCarthy, Martin Kelly
Goals: Wilfried Zaha 3’, Michy Batshuayi 90+6′
West Ham United: Łukasz Fabiański, Vladimir Coufal, Craig Dawson, Angelo Ogbonna, Aaron Cresswell, Declan Rice (Capt), Tomas Souček, Jarrod Bowen (Ryan Fredericks 82’), Pablo Fornals, Said Benrahma (Mark Noble 88’), Michail Antonio (Andriy Yarmolenko 85’) Subs not used: Darren Randolph (GK), Ben Johnson, Fabian Balbuena, Issa Diop, Manuel Lanzini, Ademipo Odubeko
Goals: Tomas Soucek 8’, 25’, Craig Dawson 65’
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Assistants: Dan Cook and Peter Kirkup
Fourth Official: Simon Hooper
VAR: Graham Scott
Assistant VAR: Derek Eaton