Match Report by @WestHamAmerican
West Ham defeated Crystal Palace in a hard-fought Premier League match at the London Stadium. With a week of media coverage of Dimitri Payet’s sulking “season of discontent”, the remainder of the squad looked ready to hit the pitch and opened up all their scoring in the second half with goals by Sofaine Feghouli, Andy Carroll, and Manuel Lanzini, to bring a dejected London Stadium crowd to their feet and get West Ham back on their winning ways 14 days into a new year.
The first half was a scrappy fight played largely in the middle third; a typical Sam Allardyce match. West Ham’s best opportunity was a long range volley from Andy Carroll in the 27th minute which sailed only a yard over the crossbar. For Palace, West Ham fans gasped as former Hammer, James Tomkins tapped a corner kick from only two yards out which miraculously went wide. Otherwise, the most action in the opening half was Neil Swarbrick booking three players before ending the half.
The second half saw Bilic bring on Sam Byram during the break in relief of Ogbonna; bringing the home team formation back to a 4-4-2 from the three back/wingback opening formation.
67 minutes in and Antonio was able to beat the defense, side-step a hapless challenge by Hennessey, and wisely cross to the crashing Sofiane Feghouli for the open goal tap in.
Twelve minutes later Antonio took Lanzini’s pass and crossed to Andy Carroll, whose beautiful scissor kick from 15 yards out was possibly was the goal of the season.
In the 86th minute of play Antonio passed ahead to Lanzini again, who skipped away from Hennessey’s attempted save, and hopped it into the open goal.
With the visitor’s stands clearing out prior to the end of stoppage time, the home crowd braved a cold, London day and was rewarded with a convincing win over a relegation-threatened side.
A week of rehashing the problems of the club, where to go during a disappointing January transfer window, and a loss of the star Frenchman was further hindered by the loss of Kouyate and Andre Ayew to their national team duty. But the stout second half play of a newly healthy Sam Byram allowed West Ham to play a traditional back four, opening up Antonio to have a hat trick of assists. Only yesterday ExWestHamEmployee had reported concerns that Antonio’s health would prevent him from playing today. Instead he surprised the team and the media by created all the scoring opportunities in Payet’s absence.
As West Ham’s victories have come against struggling competition, the Hammers have another opportunity when they head to Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough. Sitting at 12th place and five points away from 7th position, there are still things to play for as this season progresses.
Please check TheWestHamWay.co.uk for all the latest transfer news over the coming week.
West Ham: Randolph, Collins, Reid, Ogbonna, Antonio, Noble, Obiang, Cresswell, Lanzini, Feghouli, Carroll.
Subs: Adrian, Byram (46’), Fletcher (89’), Calleri, Fernandes (87’), Oxford, Quina
Bookings: Noble, Carroll, Lanzini
Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Tomkins, Dann, Delaney, McArthur, Ledley, Townsend, Cabaye, Puncheon, Benteke.
Subs: Speroni, Fryers, Kelly, Flamini, Schlupp (80’), Lee (69’) , Remy (69’)