After Roy Hodgson’s first three games in charge all ended in victories, Crystal Palace was on track to retain their Premier League (PL) status for the upcoming season, but after failing to win or score in their last two games (D1, L1), they are no longer mathematically secure. Although they have a comfortable lead over the bottom two spots, they will still want to win this game because the magic 40 points mark is only a few points away.
Only one home victory in their last ten such games (D5, L4), with the Eagles’ wings clipped by failing to score in six of those games, has been witnessed by the Selhurst Park faithful, who have yet to share in Palace’s renaissance. West Ham United could cause the goals to fly, though, as both teams have scored in each of the last 11 head to head matches (CPFC: W3, D5, L3).
As a result of Palace’s 2-1 victory in the opposite match, West Ham must now prevent a league double attempt, which they should have no trouble doing given that their last two trips here have resulted in 3-2 victories. A win would really allow them to pass Palace, but David Moyes’ team still has a lot of work to do since their most recent 2-1 loss to Liverpool ended a superb three matches unbeaten streak (W2, D1). since a result, there is still plenty to be done.
The Hammers left for their trip after winning three of their previous four away games (W3, D1) and giving up just one goal. They have not only qualified for the Europa Conference League semifinals as a result of this, but they have also doubled their away points in the Premier League this season with victories against Bournemouth and Fulham.
Two players in particular appear to do well when these teams compete. Palace’s Michael Olise has contributed three goals (G2, A1) in his two head to head matches, and West Ham’s Michail Antonio will be hoping to pay it forward with his nine goals in his previous eight matches (G2, A7).
center back for Palace Andersen must swiftly put Tuesday night behind him because the Dane had to be replaced at halftime due to pain, though Hodgson hasn’t ruled out the possibility that he may play in the Saturday derby.
Both Wilfried Zaha (groin) and Nathaniel Clyne (knee) were not deemed well enough to go to Molineux, but they should practice with the team on Friday and Saturday and may still try out for the team. But Nathan Ferguson has been absent for a while.
Cheick Doucoure and Jeffrey Schlupp should both return to the center of the field here, whilst Chris Richards, who made just his fourth Premier League start of the season last time out, may now give Joel Ward the starting spot after Hodgson decided to completely change the midfield against Wolves.
While Gianluca Scamacca, who is recovering from knee surgery, should be the only absentee for West Ham at this point, Moyes admitted earlier this month that he was unsure of the details of the procedure.
Moyes’s team survived the defeat to Liverpool uninjured, but with less than 72 hours to rest up for this noon kickoff, the opposing manager will undoubtedly be tempted to insert some new players at both ends of the field.
In the defensive starting lineup, Thilo Kehrer and Emerson Palmieri may be considered, while Danny Ings and Pablo Fornals may have a chance to replace Michail Antonio and Said Benrahma in the final third.
Crystal palace possible starting lineup
Johnstone, Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell, Schlupp, Doucoure, Eze, Olise, Edouard and Ayew.
West Ham United possible starting lineup
Fabianski, Kehrer, Aguerd, Zouma, Emerson, Soucek, Rice, Bowen, Paqueta, Fornals and Ings.
We predic: Crystal Palace 0–1 West Ham United
With Zaha’s potential return, Palace will undoubtedly benefit from returning midfield regulars and an extra day of rest, but Hodgson’s team has lost its golden goal scoring touch and has not been known for prolific performances at Selhurst Park this season anyway.
However, Moyes’ team hasn’t had much trouble taking chances during their springtime surge and has enough firepower in their ranks to come away with the win, narrowing the gap on Palace to just one point in the process. A slew of changes on the visiting end could also derail West Ham’s momentum.