Hammers and Palace Share Spoils

David Moyes maintained his excellent record against Crystal Palace as he saw his West Ham United side come from behind to earn a point in a 1-1 draw in Stratford on Wednesday night.

One change was made to the team that played in Friday night’s 2-1 win away at newly-promoted Leeds United, as Fabián Balbuena picked up a knock after the encounter at Elland Road, meaning Issa Diop slotted into the defence to take the Paraguayan’s place.

Diop’s spot on the bench was taken by Andriy Yarmolenko, who had been missing for a number of weeks having contracted Coronavirus while on international duty with Ukraine. Saïd Benrahma finally made his full home debut.

It was a frenetic start to the game, as both teams looked to build on good results last time out but it was the visitors who made the better start here, as Christian Benteke and Joel Ward combined with the striker eventually sending a header wide after being on the end of the former Portsmouth defender’s cross.

It looked as if Moyes might have had to make a change early on, as Aaron Cresswell appeared to injure his ankle but thankfully, the defender managed to play through the pain and complete the match.

The hosts then had a great chance of their own when Vladimír Coufal crossed for Pablo Fornals but although the Spaniard got his head to the ball, visiting goalkeeper Vicente Guaita looked troubled but in truth, he had no reason to be as the effort drifted wide.

With Roy Hodgson’s team renowned for their organisation, it was difficult for the Hammers to find space to create any real chances. Instead the Eagles went in front as Benteke made up for his earlier miss when he headed past a helpless Łukasz Fabiański.

Apart from the opening day home defeat to Newcastle United, the Irons have managed to find the net in every other Premier League game and they were obviously keen to keep that record going. Jarrod Bowen had a great chance to do just that but for an excellent reaction save from Guaita.

At half-time, it looked as if the East Londoners would have a lot of work to do in order to bring themselves back into the contest.

Palace had given the home side a hard time in the first-half so Moyes decided to make a change during the break by introducing Manuel Lanzini into the action to take the place of Fornals.

Having said that, Benteke had a great chance to double both his tally as well as his team’s advantage early in the second-half, as Andros Townsend looked to have set him up perfectly. Thankfully for the Hammers though, he missed this opportunity and Fabianski was able to make an easy catch.

On fifty five minutes, as the hosts set up a counter-attack, Fabianski, Coufal and Bowen linked up well. Lanzini got hold of the ball and managed to draw the visiting defence to him. He then played the ball back out to the Czech defender, who in turn picked out Sébastien Haller and the Frenchman then produced a outstanding overhead-kick to give Guaita no chance and level the scores.

The visitors could have regained the advantage but Fabianski brilliantly denied Patrick van Aanholt as he turned his goalbound shot behind, as the visitors piled on the pressure.

On seventy one minutes, West Ham were given a boost when Benteke, who had earlier been booked for an elbow, was given a second booking for the same offence on Tomáš Souček. Referee David Coote had no hesitation in producing the red card.

The sending off didn’t deter Hodgson’s men however and they were determined to hold onto the point.

In contrast, Moyes was on the lookout for another victory and in an effort to try and clinch all three points, with ten minutes remaining, the Scotsman decided to make further changes as he introduced Yarmolenko in place of Bowen before bringing on Robert Snodgrass for Benrahma eight minutes later.

The hosts had one more chance in the closing stages, as stand-in skipper Declan Rice went close but couldn’t beat Guaita, meaning this London derby ended all square.

The Hammers now have to wait until Monday night when they face a trip to West London for another derby against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.