Preview: Crystal Palace vs. West Ham United

Preview: Crystal Palace vs. West Ham United

On the back of respective midweek defeats, Crystal Palace and West Ham United renew hostilities for Saturday’s Premier League London derby at Selhurst Park.

The Eagles went down 2-0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers in Tuesday’s bottom-half battle, 24 hours before David Moyes’s side failed to hang on to a 1-0 lead in a 2-1 defeat to Liverpool.

A few eyebrows were raised when Roy Hodgson made several alterations to a hitherto unbeaten Palace side under his wing, and his decisions failed to pay dividends at Molineux, where an unfortunate Joachim Andersen own goal put the Eagles on the back foot after just three minutes.

The visitors’ attempt to break down Jose Sa in the Wolves goal proved fruitless, and the Portuguese’s opposite number Sam Johnstone was then penalised for a high tackle on Pedro Neto in second-half injury time, allowing Ruben Neves to put the result beyond any doubt from 12 yards.

From creating chances for fun to going scoreless in each of their last two games, Hodgson’s new manager bounce appears to be waning for Palace, but the mini boost provided by the 75-year-old has propelled the 12th-placed Eagles away from danger, sitting eight points clear of the drop zone with five games left to play.

The hosts will not be able to confirm their top-flight status this weekend, but Hodgson is on the brink of achieving what he set out to do when he took the reins for a second time, and Palace have proven to be a very tough nut to crack at Selhurst Park recently.

Indeed, the Eagles have suffered just one home defeat from their seven in the Premier League – a 1-0 reverse to Manchester City – but another five games in that sequence have ended in draws, the outlier being their dramatic 2-1 win over Leicester City in Hodgson’s homecoming.

From the highs of Lucas Paqueta’s screamer to the lows of being denied a last-gasp penalty, West Ham boss David Moyes experienced all the emotions and pulled no punches after his side were put to the sword by Liverpool in a closely-contested affair.

Paqueta struck a brilliant opener with 12 minutes gone, but Cody Gakpo and Joel Matip turned the tie on its head for Liverpool, who survived an offside Jarrod Bowen goal and late penalty shout against Thiago Alcantara, whose hand clearly made contact with the ball as he slid on the turf.

After the officials decided that the incident did not warrant an on-field review, Moyes gave Chris Kavanagh an earful and accused the VAR room of “disrespect” as his side missed the chance to steer clear of the drop zone – they have now be demoted to 15th after Bournemouth beat Southampton on Thursday.

The Hammers’ five-game unbeaten run in all competitions came to an end on Wednesday evening, and there can be no downplaying the importance of a result on Saturday before West Ham meet Manchester City, Manchester United and Europa Conference League semi-final opponents AZ Alkmaar in their opening three May fixtures.

Paqueta’s strike against Liverpool at least extended West Ham’s scoring streak to 11 matches, while their last two top-flight fixtures away to Fulham and Bournemouth both ended in victory with clean sheets in tow, and Palace have suffered back-to-back 3-2 losses to West Ham at Selhurst Park in the past two seasons. The Eagles returned the favour with a 2-1 win at the London Stadium back in November, though.

Crystal Palace Premier League form:

West Ham United Premier League form:

West Ham United form (all competitions):

We say: Crystal Palace 0-1 West Ham United
Returning midfield regulars and an extra day’s rest will no doubt be of benefit to Palace, who could receive a significant boost with the comeback of Zaha, but Hodgson’s side have lost their golden touch in front of goal and have not been renowned for prolific performances at Selhurst Park this year anyway.

A raft of changes on the visiting end could also disrupt West Ham’s momentum, although Moyes’s side have had few problems taking their chances during their springtime surge and have enough firepower in their ranks to come away with all the spoils – closing the gap on Palace to just one point in the process.

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