David Moyes has never lost in four previous meetings when taking a team to Selhurst Park and on Tuesday night, he extended that record further as West Ham United picked up their fifth away victory of the season by beating Crystal Palace 3-2.
After a ten day period which included crucial home wins over Burnley and West Bromwich Albion, together with booking their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup, where they will face an all Premier League affair away at Manchester United, the Hammers were keen to build on a run of form that has not seen them taste defeat since losing 3-0 at Chelsea on December 21.
The Irons’ boss made one change from the victory over the Baggies. Manuel Lanzini dropped to the bench and Pablo Fornals returned to the starting line-up, while Vladimír Coufal, Aaron Cresswell, Angelo Ogbonna, Declan Rice and Michail Antonio also came in after they were rested for Saturday’s win over Sky Bet League One outfit Doncaster Rovers.
Moyes decided to name youngster Ademipo Odubeko amongst the substitutes after he had already got the taste for competitive first-team action in the FA Cup third-round success at Stockport County.
West Ham were looking for their first success at Selhurst Park since 2016 but it would be fair to say that they didn’t get off to the best of starts. Just three minutes had elapsed when Wilfried Zaha opened the scoring for Roy Hodgson’s side. The man that the Eagles so often rely on was in the right place to thump the ball past a helpless Łukasz Fabiański.
The Irons have only failed to score in four out of their twenty top-flight matches this season so their loyal fan base watching from home would have expected a goal to be on its way and it duly arrived five minutes later. Antonio did brilliantly to keep a ball from Fornals in play down by the byline and was able to take control before finding Tomáš Souček, who headed past Vicente Guaita.
In the past, meetings between the two sides have often gone in favour of the visitors and twelve minutes after they equalised, the East Londoners had turned the game on its head. Souček grabbed his second to keep his team’s unbeaten start to the year intact.
There was almost a third goal for the Hammers straight from the kick-off but it wasn’t to be. Antonio took advantage of some poor play from the hosts but unfortunately, his effort hit the post.
After that lightning start from the home side, Moyes saw his men dominate and they were ever so desperate to get further ahead. Both Souček and Fornals forced saves out of Guaita, before Antonio was unfortunate to have hit the post once more.
Despite the uncertain opening to the encounter, Moyes would have certainly been pleased with what his team had produced afterwards and he just wanted them to keep the pressure on.
When the two sides came back out onto the pitch for the second-half, Fabianski was forced into action but thankfully, he did enough to negate the threat of an equaliser as he produced a save with his chest to block from Zaha.
Antonio was soon in the action again but, try as he might, he just couldn’t get anything to come off for him. He had a great chance to increase the advantage after being set up by Saïd Benrahma but once again, Guaita was in the way.
The start of the year saw West Ham pick up a victory at Everton and the visitors were on their way to another success on the road when Craig Dawson notched his first Premien League goal for his new club. They forced a succession of corners and a delivery from Jarrod Bowen was headed into the net by the Watford loanee.
With the game heading into the closing stages, three substitutions were made in the space of six minutes, as Ryan Fredericks, Andriy Yarmolenko and Mark Noble were brought on to take the places of Bowen, Antonio and Benrahma.
Due to an incident involving two of the home side’s players in the first-half, six minutes of stoppage time were added to end the contest and in the final seconds, the margin of victory was made far less comfortable than the Hammers would have hoped.
Hodgson had earlier introduced striker Michy Batshuayi for Andros Townsend and he was able to add his name to the scoresheet but the visitors still came away with maximum points.
That victory momentarily lifts the Irons into the top four in the table and whilst they will want to end the month unbeaten, they might face a challenge trying to achieve it as their next game sees them come up against last season’s Champions Liverpool in Stratford on Sunday afternoon.