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West Ham vs Crystal Palace 22/23

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all well.

Before we get onto this game, I am briefly going to talk about Friday’s Under 21 fixture of Crystal Palace vs Leicester. It was my younger cousins first game ever - it’s safe to say they weren’t a fan of the weather, and lack of goals! As previously mentioned, there were no goals as the game ended 0-0, although Palace looked strong in small spurts there were no real opportunities for either team. We now sit in 4th with 3 points separating us from the league leaders Arsenal.

Now onto this game. On Sunday 6th of November, we made the trip to East London to face London rivals West Ham. This was my first away game of the season, and the first I attended from University in Wembley so had to experience the public transport journey to football! It was a pretty straight forward journey from Wembley to Stratford on the Jubilee line (thankfully these are both accessible as I’ve had so many issues with this in the past month!), before a 15-minute walk up to the stadium, we left early so it wasn’t overly busy and would definitely recommend especially for wheelchair users. It was also my carers first ever football game, she definitely enjoyed it! We had great seats behind the goal, on the same platform I had sat on previous visits to the London Stadium.

Palace were coming into the game off the back of the 1-0 win over Southampton, West Ham won their midweek game against FCSB 3-0, but their last Premier League game was a tougher fixture as they lost 1-0 to Manchester United. Patrick Vieira made 3 changes to the line-up compared to the Southampton which saw Odsonne Edouard, Luka Milivojevic, and Joel Ward drop out and be replaced by Jordan Ayew, Cheick Doucoure, and Nathaniel Clyne; this saw Zaha play up front in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

It was a 2pm kick off and there was heavy rain throughout, but thankfully the London stadium was fully sheltered for the fans, so I didn’t get wet once over the day! We were under pressure early with West Ham as they switched the play to Cresswell, but the cross in fell to Mitchell; after looking up and spotting Zaha he played a fantastic ball over the top, Zaha took the ball down well and caused the West Ham defended to bring him down for a free kick, Eze went for goal but was a simple save for the keeper. Some lovely play down the right with Clyne and Olise linking up before the ball finally fell to Eze whose shot was just dragged wide. Palace started the game the stronger of the two sides putting West Ham under lots of pressure, frustrating both players and fans in claret and blue. Olise was our playmaker dripping deeper to connect passes but also putting the effort in up front. Disappointingly it only took West Ham one period of good play to put them ahead. Benrahm was given way too much space to run through about 5 of our players before finishing the ball into the back of the net, his celebration antagonised the Palace fans as he ran past shhing us. It took the goal for the West Ham fans to actually start supporting their team after being silent for the previous 20 minutes. The next 15 minutes were pretty split with both teams having a lot of the ball. A chance fell to us after Eze was played through, he passed the ball across the crowd to Zaha who should’ve just had a shot but instead held on to the ball and saw the opportunity taken away. Just before half time I was speaking to the lady in front, I look up and Zaha’s got the ball in the back of the net and is running off celebrating!! The goal came from some good work effort from Eze after a poor ball out from the keeper, Eze was then able to play Zaha the ball in the box to finish into the back of the net. Going into the break with a draw was the least we deserved so the Palace fans were by far the happier after their teams first half performance.

We started the second half with the better momentum of the first. We had an early chance with Zaha, Olise and Mitchell linking up, but West Ham matched our efforts. I’ve said this so many times when watching Palace, but it seemed like we were trying to walk the ball into the net rather than just having a shot! Zaha had another chance tricking his way into the box after we win the ball back in the midfield, but he was just unable to get his shot off in time. Eze got in a very similar situation moments after taking the ball perfectly in his stride towards the box using his chest, he wasn’t able to get his shot off and fell to the ground, there was a short penalty check by VAR, but no action was deemed necessary. A fast-paced attack from us saw Zaha receive the ball in the middle of the box, he could’ve shot but instead spotted Eze out wide unmarked, the midfielder wasn’t ready and the ball just bounced off him out of play. The first substitution for us didn’t come till the 75th minute where Doucoure was replaced by Milivojevic, this was our only substitution of the game, so Vieira was obviously happy with what he saw and rightly so. Andersen misjudged the ball allowing Antonio a clear run towards goal, he and Guehi managed to catch up but in all the action a penalty was awarded to West Ham after a foul from Guehi, there was a lengthy pause, and the referee went to the monitor himself and finally decided it wasn’t a penalty!! In the closing stages we continued to hunt for the winner with some lovely balls being played into the pockets and in behind the West Ham defence, there was nearly an own goal by Cresswell as he hit his own post. There was 4 minutes added time, it was very intense and nerve wracking as there was counter after counter for both teams. But in the fourth minute the away end erupted. A fantastic counterattack with only four players involved (starting with Guaita and Eze) allowed Zaha to find Olise out wide, he drove towards goal before cutting inside and whipped the ball into the back of the net, granted there was a deflection but who cares when it’s a last-minute winner!! The whistle was blown almost immediately, and the away end didn’t clear for at least 20 minutes after, everyone was in such high spirits as our away end drought finally ended!

What a great game! We were by far the better team, playing so well from the first to the last minute (literally), I was very impressed by Olise, Zaha and Eze they helped create so many chances it was only fair we left with the 3 points! The penalty decision was definitely correct, and thankfully the referee got the decision right as that could’ve been game changing. Sadly, that was my last Premier League game before the World Cup break so was great to end on a high, we do have a Carabou Cup game on Wednesday against Newcastle and the final Premier League game away at Nottingham Forest next Saturday so hopefully we take the momentum into that and progress into the next round!

On the way home it was slightly trickier as the road we went down on the way to the game was closed, but it was still a successful journey and hopefully many more away days are the same!

Thank you for reading

Ellie Xx


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