West Ham United mounted a superb second half come back to beat Crystal Palace 3-2 in a highly entertaining London derby.
Javier Hernandez could’ve given the home side the lead after just three minutes after being slid in, but the Mexican could only place a harmless shot straight at Wayne Hennessey.
The miss was made to look even worse just a few minutes later when Palace took the lead. A long diagonal free kick was punted into the box by Patrick van Aanholt, James Tomkins won the knock down and no West Ham player went with their runners, leaving James McArthur with the simple task of prodding past Lukasz Fabianski from a few yards out.
Palace were unfortunate not to go 2-0 up just a minute before half time. The away side were awarded a free kick just outside the area, up stepped Luka Milivojevic who crashed a curling effort onto the crossbar. In a half where the Hammers struggled to create, Palace had been comfortable.
The home side were on level terms just two minutes into the second half thanks to Robert Snodgrass, Palace failed to clear a cross properly and the ball fell to the Scot – who curled a superb effort into the top corner from the edge of the area.
West Ham completed the comeback after an hour after they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box. Felipe Anderson’s effort was saved by Hennessey, but the Welshman only managed to palm the ball straight to Javier Hernandez who fired into the roof of the net.
Anderson was at the centre of things once again just a few minutes later. Hernandez fed the Brazilian on the edge of the area, and he looked up and curled a wonderful effort from the edge of the box into the top corner to give the Hammers a 3-1 lead.
Palace got themselves back into the game with 15 minutes left, a short corner routine saw Max Meyer float a ball into the box for substitute Jeffrey Schlupp to head home. It should’ve been a nervous finish for the home side, but Palace never created another clear cut chance and the Hammers were excellent value for their 3-2 win.
WEST HAM UNITED
Key Talking Point
No Marko Arnautovic? No problem. Hammers fans would’ve been justified that their side would lack creativity without their talisman.
The reality was the complete opposite, the introduction of Andy Carroll at half time completely changed the game for the home side and they looked dangerous both in possession and on the counter attack.
Starting XI: Fabianski (6); Zabaleta (6), Balbuena (6), Diop (6), Masuaku (6); Snodgrass (7), Noble (6), Rice (6), Anderson (7); Perez (5), Hernandez (8*).
Substitutes: Carroll (7), Diangana (N/A), Obiang (N/A).
STAR MAN – Javier Hernandez
The Mexican is once again proving that he is more than capable of playing in the Premier League.
He’s one of the best poachers in the league, and his goal was perfect evidence of this. The forward looked sharp and constantly gave Palace problems at the back.
WORST PLAYER – Lucas Perez
Substituted at half time in what appeared to be a tactical switch from Manuel Pellegrini, Perez never offered an attacking threat for the home side.
my first impression of Lucas Perez was prob right, he is not prem league class, and thats putting it mildly. #whtid
— gary piper (@garypiper17) December 8, 2018
West Ham looked a totally different side with Carroll in the team, suggesting that Perez may find it hard to regain his place.
Key Talking Point
After an embarrassing loss away to arch rivals Brighton in midweek, the question surrounding Palace was whether they’d be able to bounce back.
The answer was a resounding no. Roy Hodgson’s side look short of ideas going forward, and simply weren’t sharp enough at the back.
Starting XI: Hennessey (6); Wan-Bissaka (6*), Tomkins (6), Sakho (5), Van Aanholt (6); McArthur (6), Milivojevic (6), Kouyate (6), Meyer (5); Zaha (5), Townsend (6).
Substitutes: Schlupp (7), Ayew (N/A), Puncheon (N/A).
STAR MAN – Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Another solid performance from one of the most promising young defenders in the Premier League.
For the most part he kept Felipe Anderson quiet and there was very little he could do for the Brazilian’s superb goal.
WORST PLAYER – Wilfried Zaha
It may be time to temper expectations when it comes to Zaha. There’s no doubt the forward is exceptionally talented, but he goes missing too often.
This was a performance full of poor decision making and badly executed passes, he always seems to try and do something game defining when he gets the ball, it’s a bad trait.
West Ham have yet another London derby to look forward to next weekend as they travel to Fulham, and Crystal Palace will host Leicester.