Crystal Palace vs West Ham United - Match preview and predicted line-ups
There is another London derby this weekend and the pressure is all on West Ham as they attempt to kickstart their season after a poor start. Their opponents, Crystal Palace, are coming into the match in great form and will be hoping to pile even more misery onto the Hammers. West Ham being away from home could be a blessing in disguise as they have not impressed since moving to the London Stadium.
Although West Ham are in a terrible run of form, they have only failed to score in one of their seven matches and still possess a huge threat in the final third. Their squad is one of the best outside of the top six on paper, but they need to start showing that on the pitch. The biggest concern for Slaven Bilic is that their opening run of fixtures wasn’t particularly hard and they should have come out with a much better point total.
Palace will look at this weekend as a winnable match, especially as the match is at home. Alan Pardew started the season under pressure, but his side now sit in eighth position and a win this weekend could push them into the top five if other results go their way. The signings that were made over the summer have been a breath of fresh air and they are now well placed to have a successful campaign.
Crystal Palace are unbeaten in their last five league matches after losing their opening two matches. Alan Pardew has managed to arrest the slide and that has been due to their improvement in attack. The Eagles have yet to keep a clean sheet in the league this season, but they are firing at the other end with eleven goals in their last five matches. There should be goals this weekend as neither side have looked good at the back.
Meanwhile, West Ham have lost five of their seven league matches this season and their only win came in a scrappy game against Bournemouth. A draw against Middlesbrough managed to stop the rot, but Bilic desperately needs a win to boost the mood at the club. Their attack has remained threatening, but it is at the back where the problems lie. The Hammers have conceded more goals than any other side in the league with 17 and it is difficult to see that improving any time soon.
Scott Dann is a doubt, but he should pull through and start this weekend. Yohan Cabaye is also in contention to start after a substitute role in the last match against Everton. Christian Benteke will lead the line after his seven-second goal for Belgium.
Aaron Cresswell is set to start after his injury lay-off, which is a boost for West Ham as he has been missed. Manuel Lanzini could be recalled to the starting eleven, while Alvaro Arbeloa will be required to start at right back.
Crystal Palace West Ham
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Loic Remy is a few weeks away from returning to full fitness and being available to make his Crystal Palace debut. Pape Souare won’t be back until April due to his broken leg.
Gokhan Tore and Sam Byram have been added to the injury list for West Ham, which is currently the largest in the league. Havard Nordtveit, Jonathan Calleri and Aaron Cresswell are all back in the matchday squad. Arthur Masuaku, Andy Carroll, Andre Ayew and Diafra Sakho will all still be missing for the Hammers.
I expect this match to go with form, which will mean that Crystal Palace pick up the three points at Selhurst Park. West Ham’s defence has been awful since the opening day and I have my doubts about whether Bilic is the right man to correct the problems. There will be goals this weekend as neither side have been able to keep it tight at the back, but Palace are the most likely winners.
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