Good Start, Good Finish, But Palace Missed A Middle In West Ham Defeat

An early goal from Palace set things up nicely but for the visitors who went on to secure all three points after a disappointing home performance by the Eagles which leaves more questions than answers.


26th January 2021


Crystal Palace 2-3 West Ham United


Selhurst Park Stadium, Holmesdale Road, Selhurst, London SE25 6PU


Behind closed doors


Referee – Stuart Attwell

Assistants – Dan Cook, Peter Kirkup, Simon Hooper (fourth official)

VAR – Graham Scott, Derek Eaton (assistant)



RED CARD – none


Wilfried Zaha (3), Tomas Soucek (9, 25), Craig Dawson (65)


James McArthur


Palace just do not create enough chances which is a travesty with the players currently in the squad. It can be done as the two goals showed but there was not enough in between which was hugely frustrating. There were signs but no real cutting edge and the defensive play simply could not back that up, a once stubborn defence look a shadow of their former selves, particularly since the heavy defeat to Liverpool leaving a lasting wound. More hard work to be done if the club are not to be dragged into and end of season battle for survival which is at arms-length at the moment but more defeats like this and that will no longer be the case.


Nothing of note


Bob White was a coach at Palace under the tenure of Steve Coppell and Alan Smith and will be sharing his point of view each week in our review article.

“From the early promise of a fine worked goal between Benteke and Zaha, once West Ham equalised barely minutes later, we were second best in all departments and got what we deserved. The final score line flattered us and so easily could have been much worse. A defence which was once our strongest suit now looks vulnerable and disjointed. Our back four lacked cohesion and the necessary communication between each player. Consequently we never defended as a unit but as individuals with West Ham not having to work too hard to score their three goals. In front of our back four the central midfield looked ponderous in possession and outnumbered when out of it. Too many misplaced passes were the undoing of a number of promising attacks. However, it goes deeper than all these identified weaknesses during this one game. Unfortunately, our tactics and team have become stale. This malaise will take some remedying. The successful progressive teams in this league play a high tempo, high pressing game. Do we have the manager and ultimately the players to adopt such an approach? Otherwise a comfortable mid-table position could easily turn into a relegation battle come the Spring. A challenge ahead, indeed.”


31 VICENTE GUAITA (6) – One fantastic point blank save but arguably could have done better with the second goal which squeezed through by his near post.

2 JOEL WARD (6) – Difficult evening for the Palace full back who rarely had the chance to venture forward.

24 GARY CAHILL (7) – A clash of heads with Kouyate probably summed up both their evenings but Cahill just edged it with a number of blocks and clearances.

8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (6) – One of his poorest performances since his move to centre back and it had to be against his former side.

27 TYRICK MITCHELL (7) – Top tackler and continues to prove his hold on the left back slot with a strong showing.

10 ANDROS TOWNSEND (6) – Struggled to really get to grips with the game and ultimately left the field earlier than he would have liked. Replaced by 23 MICHY BATSHUAYI (6 – GOAL!) on 66 minutes and got his first goal in his second spell at the club which is all you can ask of a substitute to make such an impact.

18 JAMES MCARTHUR (7- TEB MAN OF THE MATCH!) – As always, the Scottish Pirlo just does what you expect him to do, and more. His age is just a number and he managed an effort on goal today which was only just over the bar.

4 LUKA MILIVOJEVIC (6 – CAPTAIN!) – The game passed the captain by for the most part before he was ultimately hauled off in the second half. Replaced by 44 JAIRO RIEDEWALD (6) on 73 minutes who showed some nice touches and played a part in the second goal.

25 EBERECHI EZE (6) – Showed some good touches and got the team forward quickly at times but failed to find that final ball.

11 WILFRIED ZAHA (7 – GOAL!) – Fantastic early goal after linking up well with Benteke but the remainder was full of frustration for him. Kept trying to create an opening but was guilty of some poor choices when in possession.

20 CHRISTIAN BENTEKE (7 – ASSIST!) – Found it difficult to hold up the ball successfully but kept on working hard with very little reward but did provide a nice assist for the opening goal. Replaced by 9 JORDAN AYEW (7 – ASSIST!) on 73 minutes and provided a nice assist for Batshuayi to score.


1 Jack Butland, 3 Patrick van Aanholt, 6 Scott Dann, 17 Nathaniel Clyne, 22 James McCarthy, 34 Martin Kelly


1 Fabianski, 5 Coufal, 15 Dawson, 21 Ogbonna, 3 Cresswell, 28 Soucek, 41 Rice, 20 Bowen, 18 Fornals, 9 Benrahma, 30 Antonio

SUBSTITUTES – 4 Balbuena, 7 Yarmolenko (replaced Antonio on 83 mins), 10 Lanzini, 16 Noble (replaced Benrahma on 87 mins), 23 Diop, 24 Fredericks (replaced Bowen on 81 mins), 25 Martin, 31 Johnson, 45 Odubeko


ROY HODGSON“I thought we lost to the better team, our first half performance was nowhere near as good as we expected to be and as a result we found ourselves coming in at half time 2-1 down. Second half we lost it to the set play and when you are 3-1 down even though we had a bit of a spurt in that period it’s very hard to score two goals against a team of West Ham’s quality and they tool the points deservedly.”

DAVID MOYES“We knew we had to start well, Palace have got a really good record of scoring early and we were aware of it so, it was disappointing that we didn’t start well but to get a goal back was a big difference. We played very well and I thought that we had another gear in us if we needed. We passed it well but I was a bit disappointed with the finishing but overall I’m pleased with how we played and the result. Michail Antonio should have come away with the match ball but he’s won us games in recent weeks so I hope he’s keeping his goals for other games, he plays a big part in the team.”


The Who Scored man of the match was Tomas Soucek (9.0) while the most shots were from Michail Antonio (5). The most tackles were by Tyrick Mitchell (5) while Said Benrahma, Wilfried Zaha, Michail Antonio and Pablo Fornals (3) had the most dribbles.

  • Team rating: 6.65 – 6.89
  • Total shots: 6 – 17
  • Shots on target: 3 – 7
  • Possession: 54.2% – 45.8%
  • Pass success: 79% – 76%
  • Passes: 530 – 453
  • Dribbles: 9 – 10
  • Aerials won: 31 – 13
  • Tackles: 17 – 19
  • Fouls: 9 – 8
  • Corners: 3 – 4
  • Saves: 5 – 1
  • Dispossessed: 13 – 11  


At the final whistle, Palace were 13th in the Premier League with 23 points from 13 games, a point ahead of Wolves in 14th and 3 points behind Leeds in 12th.


30/01/2021 Wolverhampton Wanderers (h) – Premier League (3pm – Sky Sports)

02/02/2021 Newcastle United (a) – Premier League (8.15pm – BT)

06/02/2021 Leeds United (a) – Premier League (3pm – TBC)

1 comment
  1. It is good to read considered critical comments rather than the cliches of the doom-mongers which no matter how fervent and sincere their beliefs so often dominate social media. I did not watch this match btw.

    It has been my belief for many months that this season will be wierd and unpredictable as seemingly it is panning out. It will also be financially difficult given the lack of gate money etc. Further given Palace’s team, age etc the most critical aspect was EPL survival rather than real on field development. This belief is concurrent with the belief that Roy Hodgson will not have his contract renewed in the spring and thus with strategic transfers to an extent overseen by a new manager we will enter 2021/22 with a very different tableau.

    Now who that may bring and who may be manager is a whole different kettle of fish! But being a supporter for circa 55 years that is not unexpected!

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