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Crystal Palace 2, West Ham 3. Close Scoreline. Not A Close Match.

 

Latest Hammers News Forums Hammer And Tongs Crystal Palace 2, West Ham 3. Close Scoreline. Not A Close Match.

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  • #70442
    Iron Man
    Keymaster

    Caveat once again. It’s a work day, I’m a bit busy, everyone is at home and online making my stream dodgy, and I may miss stretches of today’s match. But I’ll give it a go.

    On paper, with five wins on the trot against a side that had only beaten Shafting United in their past six games, we should have been optimistic going into Selhurst Park. But the last time we beat the South Londoners was 2018. I look at the squad for Palace and I always see players that can hurt us. Among them Zaha. In the third minute, he got the ball near the top of the West Ham eighteen yard box. His low shot looked stoppable to me. But I sell wine. I don’t kick a football for a living. Fabianski dove to his right but couldn’t reach it.

    Crystal Palace 1
    West Ham 0

    It didn’t take long for West Ham to get back into it, however. In the 9th minute Fornals put a lovely ball over a napping Kouyate that Antonio ran onto. With the ball on the end-line to the left of the Palace goal, Antonio used the outside of his right boot to just direct the ball back in front of Guaita for Soucek to simply overpower Cahill and head the ball into the back of the net.

    Embed from Getty Images

    Crystal Palace 1
    West Ham 1

    You know that scene in Pulp Fiction when Mia Wallace comes back from “powdering her nose” to find her burger and five dollar shake waiting for her at the table, and claims how wonderful that is? Well I had a version of that today. Moments after Soucek’s equalizer, DHL showed up at my house (samples headed to potential new partners in the UK, so cross fingers for me if you would). I had to run downstairs to meet the driver and go over the paperwork. When I returned to my desk, I saw Cresswell stand over a free kick in the 24th minute. Then I saw him curl a delivery into the box. And THEN I saw Soucek score again! I love DHL!

    Embed from Getty Images

    Crystal Palace 1
    West Ham 2

    Soucek had a sniff at an early hat trick in the 32nd minute when West Ham pressure forced Palace off the ball near midfield. Fornals rolled a pass to Soucek near the top of the Palace penalty area, and the supposedly defensive midfielder let go a low shot that Guaita dove to his left to stop.

    It was so close to a third for West Ham in the 40th minute, and according to Danny Gabbidon I missed another chance while doing my DHL thing, when Antonio re-directed a Cresswell shot towards the far post that just dinged off the other post. So while a 2-1 lead at halftime was certainly nice, it really could have been 4-1.

    Halftime
    Crystal Palace 1
    West Ham 2

    The second half started somewhat like the first, with Zaha threatening the West Ham goal. Only this time it was Fabianski who got the better of the exchange, blocking not only the initial shot but also Zaha’s attempt to get the rebound into the box.

    How Antonio did not score in the 59th minute after Benrahma danced past Mitchell and fed him the ball will be a mystery right up there with UFO’s and The Loch Ness Monster. Guaita made a tremendous save, and when on another night Antonio could have been on a hat trick he was empty handed thus far. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be his night.

    Minutes later it was Coufal who ran onto a through ball from Benrahma on the right. His shot, or maybe it was a pass, deflected off of a defender and Guaita made a reflex save. A few minutes later West Ham won two quick corners, and the second one finally delivered what had been coming. Which was particularly pleasing because as the ball went in off Dawson’s now very valuable head my WhatsApp group was full of “will these missed chances bite us” worries. As of the 70th minute, the answer was no.

    Embed from Getty Images

    Crystal Palace 1
    West Ham 3

    Remember how it might not be Antonio’s night? Well, he started to express that frustration after yet another deflected ball off our frontman went just wide. He stomped up and down like an angry toddler. I understood completely.

    Crystal Palace came close to cutting the Hammers lead in half in the 86th minute when McArthur tried a right footed shot from 20 yards out. Fabianski went airborne just in case, but the ball went high over the bar. In the final seconds of added time, Batshuayi put a shot through the legs of Cresswell from close range to score one of the more meaningless goals of the season.

    Final Score
    Crystal Palace 2
    West Ham 3

    So. Let us review. In their previous 30 matches in which they scored first, Crystal Palace had lost none. That spanned over about two years. They had also been a bit of a bogey team for us in those 24 or so months as we are all aware. And you know, we were kind of due for a less than stellar performance.

    And we absolutely bossed them.

    It was a dominant performance, even if the score line did not look exactly like that. Benrahma played by far his best game for us, in charge of the midfield not only in attack but was fantastic defensively as well. Fornals, once he finds his killer instinct and sharpens his decision making, will be frightening to play against. And I hope like hell the squad make Antonio smile that ear to ear grin he usually has, because he needs to know a hat trick at a minimum would happen nine times out of ten if he puts on the kind of show he did today. I could go on and on. It was that thorough by our standards.

    Embed from Getty Images

    Oh.Yeah. We are fourth in the table as I write this.

    Scenes.

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