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Crystal Palace vs West Ham 21/22

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all well and had a good New Years!

Palace were back in action at home on New Year’s Day hoping to start 2022 on a positive against West Ham United in a London derby!

West Ham had started the season well and went into the game sitting 6th in the league with 31 points, their last game was a 4-1 victory over Watford, and they have also beaten the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool this season.

Vieira was back on the side-lines after recovering fully from COVID, he was still short of some players being Zaha, Kouyate and Gallagher who are recovering from COVID themselves. With Kouyate being out he was replaced by Milivojevic who got his first start in a while in the midfield, this along with Benteke coming back into the starting line up ahead of Mateta were the only changes. We also had the return of Eze and Olise, they were both named on the bench.

It was a 5.30pm kick off under the floodlights, but it was surprisingly pretty warm for a winter evening. Before kick-off there was a minutes applause to remember all those involved with Palace (fans, staff & players) who passed away in 2021; once this was over we were underway for the first time of the year with West Ham having the first kick. We nearly had yet another fast start, within the first minute Hughes whipped the ball into the box, it was deflected up and Ayew was able to meet it at the touch line preventing it going out for a corner, one touch pass into the centre of the box where there was an awaiting Schlupp, he got good contact and it looked like it was going in everyone jumped up thinking it was in ... but it was just kept out by the post! We started the game brightly forcing West Ham into mistakes and controlling the possession. Benteke was bought down just outside the box and foul was given, Milivojevic stood over it, I must admit he doesn’t feel me with confidence with his free kicks but to be fair this one was relatively close but still didn’t test the keeper as it flew over the bar. Mitchell started the game brightly again managing to link up well with the attacking players. West Ham had a period of time where they were trying to find ways through us, it came from a ball being whipped in to the far side of the box, the intended player was just able to keep the ball in play and play it across to Antonio who was in the middle of the box, his initial shot was saved by Guaita, then he had to hit it back out the path of the striker, before having to get off the floor in time to make a final save from a header, absolutely fantastic keeping from Guaita, he wasn’t called to action before this so to make a triple save was incredible and shows how switched on he is! After such a good start the luck went against us, in the 22nd minute a ball was whipped into the middle of the box by Benrama who was given way too much space, the ball found Antonio who was able to poke it beyond Guaita making it 1-0 to West Ham. Things went from bad to worse for us and within 2 minutes we were 2-0 down, Declan Rice was given so much space to run freely towards goal from his own half without any Palace players closing him down, he only had to play one pass into Lanzini who was waiting outside the box completely free and unmarked, he dribbled into the box passed Andersen and played it in the back of the net, extremely disappointing to see us just fall apart so quickly. There was a penalty shout at the other end of the pitch as Benteke went to ground after being held back by the West Ham defender but he referee didn’t give us anything, it did look like they were both wrestling each other so it was probably the correct decision. We had a huge chance on the half hour mark as Ayew received the ball on the wing and dribbled into the box, he passed it into a packed box finding Edouard who had a bit of space, but his shot blazed onto the cross bar and bounced back out into the box, the ref looked at his watch to see if it went in but it did not flash, this was a crucial part of the game where we really needed a goal if we wanted to attempt to salvage a point. Ayew was brilliant once again and really is shining through in the recent games, he was whipping some great balls into the box throughout but there was just no one there to finish it. We were really looking dangerous creating chance after chance, including a shot by Benteke which forced a good save from the keeper, but we just couldn’t get any into the back of the net! The end of the half couldn’t of gone any worse, a ball was whipped in towards the West Ham attackers, it was cleared out to Milivojevic who was open at the edge of the box, the game carried on for a few seconds with us in possession before the ref blew after being told by VAR that Milivojevic had hand-balled the ball in the box, he went over to the screen and it took way too long to make a decision which shows it obviously wasn’t clear, but he did decide to give West Ham a penalty :( Lanzini stepped up to take it, Guaita went the right way but wasn’t close enough and the ball found the back of the net, taking us into the break 3-0 down.

The 3-0 score line was no true reflection of how we played in the first half, we simply were not clinical enough and didn’t take the chances we created, whereas West Ham were the complete opposite and scored from most of their chances. A change needed to be made to bring some more creativeness into the team because Milivojevic wasn’t helping us in any way!

The second half started and there were surprisingly no half-time changes from Vieira. We started the half pretty strong trying to create as many chances as possible, but like the first half we just struggled to find the back of the net, Edouard was heavily involved in most of the attacks. There was a big chance just before the hour mark where Ayew found himself in behind and received a great ball over the top from Andersen, he was able to pass it across goal to try find Edouard but he was just unable to find the target with his shot. Our first substitution came in the 57th minute with Milivojevic being replaced by Mateta, a more attacking move from Vieira, Ward took over with the captain’s armband. This was followed by another substitution shortly after in the 67th minute, which saw Olise come on in replace of Benteke. It was really disappointing the amount of times they played backwards/round the back throughout the whole game, like we were already losing so they needed to push on and at least try get back into the game. Our final substitution came in the 74th minute which saw Hughes be replaced by Rieldewald, it would’ve been nice to see the introduction of Eze into the game but I’m guessing Vieira is planning for the next few games when players are off to AFCON. The introduction of Olise caused so many problems for the opposition, their wing back couldn’t handle him and had to foul him every time to stop him passing! Once again Palace were totally in control of the game and very late on we finally got what we deserved ... in the 83rd minute we were playing the ball around nicely trying to pull the West Ham team apart, the ball fell out wide to Olise who cut back inside away from his man and played a great ball into the box where Edouard was waiting, he found himself in between 2 West Ham defenders but had lots of room so was able to poke the ball into the back of the net, giving Palace a lifeline and making it 3-1 with just under 10 minutes to go! They had the 12th man of the crowd behind them, and they really looked up for it with lots of urgency. This time it was Ayew’s time to cause issues for the West Ham defenders, he was completely taken out near the corner of the West Ham penalty box, it looked a sore one for him but he was encouraged to get up as quick as possible by his teammates so we could get on with the game; Olise was given the responsibility and stood over the ball, he ran up and hit the ball perfectly in front of all the players and straight into the back of the net! Perfect free kick from the young man, and what an impact he had made, it was now 3-2 with added time left to play! The stadium completely erupted I’ve never heard it as loud as it was for this game, and the noise continued for the remainder of the match. We had 2 really late chances the first was a long ball up from Schlupp trying to find Edouard and Mateta, Edouard initially got the ball but was being tackled by their defender so couldn’t get through, it looked like the defender passed the ball back meaning the keeper wouldn’t be allowed to pick it up, but he did, the palace players contested but the ref frustratingly didn’t see anything wrong. The final chance came in the 93rd minute, once again Schlupp whipped the ball into the box, this time the intended recipient was Mateta he went for the overhead kick and it just went past the post, it that went in the scenes would have been incredible. But sadly it didn’t and that was the last action of the game meaning the final result was 3-2 to West Ham :(. After the final whistle Vieira had some words with the referee expressing his anger on the back-pass situation in the game, but the ref wasn’t interested and it ended with Vieira being booked.

We may have lost but what a game, good start to the year from a performance perspective! It was totally undeserved to come away from that game with nothing, but a lot of lessons they can take from the game with the most important being we need to be more clinical, I know it’s obvious but if Schlupp’s chance went in in the first minute it would’ve been a totally different outcome. West Ham didn’t test us in anyway apart from their 3 goals and we were clearly the better side so that should also give us some confidence. Michael Olise my MOTM 👏 absolutely incredible when he came on, a goal and assist in 20 minutes, completely changed the game for us, if he was bought in 10/15 minutes earlier I think we would have got another goal and taken something from the game, he’s once again given Vieira something to think about and although I like what he brings as a super sub I think it’s time to give him more starts. Would’ve been nice to see the introduction of Eze but with the AFCON coming up and players leaving for that he should get his chance to get in the starting 11. I also think it’s time for the captain’s armband to be passed on to someone else because Luka isn’t providing many if not any positives to the team, so that’s definitely something Vieira need to deal with.

Match stats:

• Palace had a total of 63% possession, West Ham had 37%

• Palace had a total of 22 shots with 6 on target.

• West Ham had 10 shots with 5 on target.

Our next game is Millwall in the FA cup on Saturday 8th of January, so good luck if you managed to get tickets hope it’s not too rough of a day out and we come away with the W. Then the week after we have Br*ghton away in the Prem, I am going to that game so look out for a post on that :).

Thank you for reading

Ellie Xx

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