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West Ham vs Crystal Palace 21/22

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all well.

Palace were back on the road for game week 3, and it was another London derby. On Saturday 28th of August we travelled to the London Stadium to face West Ham. Mum managed to book a car parking space at the stadium, so we didn’t have to find somewhere before the game, all the staff were helpful on arrival, and we got to our seat straightaway. We had already been to this stadium a few seasons ago, so we knew what to expect with the seating arrangements, the disabled fans are located behind the goal on the mid-tier so had a great view.

West Ham had started the season well taking away all 6 points from their previous games, making them a tough opponent. Palace were looking to score their first goal of the season and we was all hoping today was the day. We lined up the same as the Brentford game apart from Ayew coming in to replace Schlupp. My friend Tom also attended the game, but we still haven’t been able to meet at a game 🙁! Thankfully this game was much more eventful compared to last week, so I have more to write about!

The first half we had West Ham shooting towards us. The atmosphere was great for the whole game, and it felt like a proper London derby with the fans showing their passion, even though some drunk people took it a bit too far. West Ham started the game very strong dominating the opening stages, Palace defence did well to handle the pressure as well as starting counter attacks where possible. Viera’s tactics seem to be paying off as we keep possession much better and are much more confident when playing out from the back, which is something Viera encourages. Zaha was instantly targeted when on the ball, winning us free kicks, but Palace’s motivation seemed to be very negative and constantly playing the ball back, sadly this was the case for the majority of the game and something I personally would like to see change. ‘La la la la, Wahey hey, Wilfried Zaha’ sang around the Palace end trying to urge him on, although Palace were only allocated a small section of the stadium, we were still very loud. We had spurts of playing some great football and passing it around nicely, the centre back pair continuously did well to play the ball into the pockets in the centre of the field. Our first corner of the game was won as McArthur played the ball through the middle to Ayew, who passed it onto Benteke in the middle, the ball eventually made its way out to Mitchell who could whip it back in cause the West Ham defender to head it out for a corner. Conor Gallagher took our set pieces once again and his deliveries were all fantastic, but nothing came from this one; he’s definitely come in just at the right time, especially now we don’t have Eze. West Ham had a huge chance to put themselves in front in the 24th minute from a Palace mistake, as the ball was whipped in from outside the box, Guaita came to punch as the defenders were under pressure from Antonio, but he completely missed the ball, it bounced off one of our defenders heading toward goal, but thankfully Ward was there to cover and clear the ball of the line. This was definitely a heart in throat moment for us fans in the away end. There was a mini commotion in the crowd as a Palace fan tried to jump over to the home fans who had been arguing the whole game, of course the security stopped him, but I don’t get fans who would travel to a game just to get drunk and try start fights, although it did cause some entertainment. In the 39th minute the team was completely cut open and exposed as one ball through the middle landed at the feet of Antonio, he had 3 of our defenders around him but they couldn’t do enough, as he cut back inside once in the box, before passing it back to an unmarked Fornals who could put the ball into the back of the net. 1-0 to West Ham and that is how the half ended, this lit the fuse for the home fans.

For the majority of the first half Palace seemed happy to sit back and allow the home team to put the pressure on us, with the few counter attack created, this needed to change the second half especially now that we were 1-0 down.

The second half Palace were shooting towards their fans so hopefully this could motivate them even more. Zaha had an early path on goal after some nice football was played around the back, before being cleared out to Zaha who played a quick 1-2 with Benteke allowing him to run at the defenders towards goal, but his shot was blazed far over the bar into the crowd as he was pushed wide. Throughout the whole second half the danger came down the left with Zaha, Mitchell and even McArthur linking up beautifully. In the 58th minute the ball fell to Zaha down the left outside the box, he was able to play a perfectly weighted ball onto the head of Benteke, who could head it down into the path of Gallagher who could get past one defender before boot the ball into the back of the net on the half turn, making it 1-1!! Our first goal of the season and it came from the young lad! The scenes in the away end were insane as the players ran over to celebrate in front of us, we were finally back in the game! For the next portion of the game Palace were playing some nice football once again, keeping possession and creating chances where possible. Once again West Ham being given too much time on the ball punished us, in the 68th minute one long ball from their own defensive half up to Antonio, put Palace behind once again. He was in the box alone with the 2 centre backs and was lucky the bounce went in his favour going over top and off Andersen’s back into his path, he wasn’t able to stop the striker as he twisted round and get his shot off at the near post beating Guaita. 2-1 to West Ham. It didn’t take us long to bounce back. In the 70th minute the ball came down the left as Zaha and McArthur were able to play around the defenders before the captain was able to cross it into the path of Gallagher. He was able to beautifully twist and turn in the box around the defender onto his right foot, before finally smashing the ball into the back of the net at the near post, getting his second goal of the game and his first Premier League brace! The away end erupted as we were back in the game for the second time, 2-2 with 20 minutes remaining! Ayew shortly after picked up a free kick on the edge of the box, which was whipped in by Gallagher, his confidence must’ve been super high at this moment, it was a great ball in onto the head of Guehi, but his attempt went right over the bar, so close to stealing all 3 points! He didn’t have the best start to the game, so this would have helped his confidence loads but sadly it just wasn’t meant to be for him today. There was a final chance for West Ham as there was a 2 on 2 towards goal, but Antonio’s ball through was a comfortable save for Guaita, meaning the game finished 2-2.

This was a great result for us and arguably we deserved more on a great away day, if we continue to play how we did in the second half we will do great this season. Very happy to finally get our first goals of the season, and even happier for Gallagher who picked up MOTM after his great performance; hopefully this is a confidence boost for our next games. After picking up a point we are still sitting at 14th (as I write this), but it is still very early in the season.

On the way home we got stuck in the London traffic but it’s all part of the away day experience! We now have an international break, but our next game is against Tottenham at home on September 11th.

Thank you for reading

Ellie X


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