It was another Stratford outing for the West Ham United faithful on Saturday afternoon but unlike Monday night’s 4-1 win against Leicester City, they saw their team concede the advantage twice, as they ended August by drawing 2-2 in a London derby with Crystal Palace.
David Moyes once again named the same matchday squad as he had done against the Foxes five days ago.
The Eagles had not won or even scored in the Premier League this season so the Irons were keen to take advantage and they nearly benefited from a mistake from the visitors early on. Former Fulham loanee Joachim Andersen nearly put the ball past his own goalkeeper but teammate Joel Ward cleared off the line.
It wasn’t through lack of trying from the home side though, as they had numerous chances to make the breakthrough but on every occasion the visiting defence was in the way of everything that West Ham could throw at them.
Nevertheless, it was an entertaining watch and there was joy for the majority inside the stadium on thirty nine minutes. Pablo Fornals was on the scoresheet again when he was set up perfectly by Michail Antonio, following a great team move which also involved Vladimír Coufal and Saïd Benrahma.
Antonio latched onto Benrahma’s pass and the former Nottingham Forest man played in the ex-Villareal midfielder, who was waiting on the edge of the box.
He then played a one-two with Antonio and while Eagles’ stopper Vicente Guaita was too focused on the man who became West Ham’s all-time Premier League goalscorer on Monday night, the Spaniard applied the final touch and put the ball into an empty net.
When referee Stuart Attwell blew the whistle for the break, all looked good for the Hammers to make it three wins in a row and pile further gloom on new Palace Head-Coach Patrick Viera.
The home side were trying all they could to extend the advantage but as their opponents had done at various points throughout the encounter, the visitors continued to thwart them. In this case, it was Benrahma who was denied by Guaita. The winger had been sent on his way by Jarrod Bowen but the goalkeeper reacted brilliantly.
The hosts were made to pay for not taking their chances when in a dominant position, as Viera’s side equalised on fifty eight minutes. For the second game in succession, West Ham goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański had not really been tested was beaten when Chelsea loanee Connor Gallagher produced a neat finish after meeting a cross from Christian Benteke.
The home side seem to have a never say die attitude under the stewardship of David Moyes and this was in evidence again as they found the equaliser just ten minutes later. Antonio claimed his 50th Premier League goal for West Ham as he gave Guaita no chance.
Just minutes after the East Londoners had gone back in front, the fans in the away end were celebrating again as Palace had once again made the scores level when Gallagher received possession from James McArthur and got the better of Craig Dawson.
On seventy nine minutes Moyes made his first change, as he gave Manuel Lanzini a first taste of competitive action this season with the Argentine replacing Bowen, while eight minutes later Andriy Yarmolenko was introduced in place of Fornals.
In the dying stages of the match, a breakaway out of defence involving Benrahma and Antonio could have sealed the points if the frontman had played the Algerian in sooner.
When Attwell blew the final whistle, West Ham had to come to terms with heading into next week’s international break having dropped their first points of the season. However, they still finished the day on top of the table.
Hours after the game, it was confirmed that Moyes will have a new face to fit into the side when the Irons travel to Southampton on September 11, as defender Kurt Zouma finally completed his permanent move from London rivals Chelsea, signing a five-year deal.
If there are any more deals completed before the summer transfer window closes at 11pm on Tuesday, this site will keep its readers up to date with all the latest.