After losing at home to Liverpool on Wednesday night, West Ham United suffered another defeat as they narrowly lost 4-3 against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in Saturday’s early kick-off.
David Moyes made two changes from the side that took on the Reds three days ago, as Emmerson Palmieri and Pablo Fornals were preferred to Aaron Cresswell and Saïd Benrahma, who both dropped to the bench. Both Captain Declan Rice and Jarrod Bowen retained their places from the game in midweek in order to make landmark appearances for the club.
A game between these two sides usually favours the visitors and after a fifteen minute delay to kick-off, due to home fans not being able to get into the stadium, the Hammers started well as they went ahead inside ten minutes. A corner was awarded and Tomáš Souček headed past Sam Johnstone in the home side’s goal, leaving the travelling support thinking that the delay was worth the wait.
The Irons then suffered a double blow as Roy Hodgson’s side levelled matters just five minutes later through Jordan Ayew and then immediately lost Kurt Zouma to an ankle injury, meaning Angelo Ogbonna came on to replace him.
Palace had turned the game on its head when another five minutes had passed. The Italian defender was the unlucky one just minutes after he had been introduced. Wilfried Zaha benefited when a cross from Michael Olise deflected off his head, allowing Zaha to beat visiting goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański.
Ten minutes later, the Eagles extended their advantage even further and it was the turn of Jeffrey Schlupp to add his name to the scoresheet. A mistake from Souček was pounced on by the former Leicester City player, who then made his way into the box and shot past the Pole.
Unbelievably, there was still time for another goal before referee Craig Pawson blew the whistle for the break. Antonio made it 3-2 when the East Londoners were given another corner, which Palmieri took, Souček flicked on and the frontman was in the right place to head past Johnstone.
A crazy first-half had come to a close and the East Londoners, who had won at AFC Bournemouth the last time they were on their travels were hoping for a third consecutive success on the road.
During the break, Cresswell and Benrahma were back in favour replacing the two players that had taken their places in the starting line-up.
The changes seemed to have an effect as the Algerian winger set up Bowen in a promising position but unfortunately, the former Hull City man couldn’t send a cross into the area as the ball was blocked.
Although the Hammers were doing all they could to find a way back into the game, Hodgson’s men were in no mood to give up their lead. They had a chance to make it more comfortable for themselves when Olise tried his luck but fortunately for those in the away end, Fabiański managed to tip his attempt over the bar.
However, that didn’t stop the hosts from extending their lead, as they were awarded a rather harsh penalty when Nayef Aguerd was believed to have tripped Eberechi Eze.
The man who won the spot-kick picked himself up to take it and he made no mistake, as he sent Fabiański the wrong way.
If they were to somehow get anything from this game, Moyes’ men would have to now score twice. To help them try and achieve this, the Scotsman made his fourth change on sixty nine minutes, as Danny Ings replaced Lucas Paquetá.
Three minutes after Ings had entered the fray, this topsy-turvy encounter took another twist with the Hammers pulling yet another goal back. Bowen took a corner which was once again headed on by Souček and finished off by Aguerd.
Yes, the Irons had time to try and find an unlikely equaliser and even though Maxwel Cornet was brought on as Moyes had used all five of the substitutions available to him, they were unable to draw level and work still needs to be done to ensure top-flight safety for next season.
The Londoners will find this hard to achieve in the next game, as they are on the road again on Wednesday night when they face the toughest of all tough trips, as The Etihad Stadium is their next destination, facing Manchester City.