Hammers and Eagles Share Spoils
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 10 Feb 2019 16:21:00
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West Ham United fans might have been slightly disappointed on Saturday afternoon, having only taken a point from their encounter with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park after grabbing an unlikely point in Monday night's home game with Liverpool.

Manuel Pellegrini obviously recognised the effort his team had put into that game and named an unchanged side for this London derby.

The Hammers had enough chances to beat the Reds five days earlier and took a lot of confidence into this encounter by making a very bright start.

A couple of corners were well dealt with before Ryan Fredericks had a good chance to put his side in front with fourteen minutes gone. He was able to collect possession following Michail Antonio's mis-hit shot but unfortunately the defender couldn't get the right amount of direction on his effort allowing goalkeeper Vicente Guaita to make a comfortable save.

A minute later, West Ham were in again but Palaces' summer signing blocked their next attempt after Robert Snodgrass was thwarted despite being cleverly set up by Felipe Anderson.

Lukasz Fabianski hadn't had much to do up to this point but he was on hand when it mattered denying James McArthur a goalscoring opportunity after he burst into the box.

That chance didn't stop West Ham from applying further pressure and they were awarded a penalty on a 27 minutes after Guaita collided with Antonio after the former Nottingham Forest man had latched onto a great ball from Declan Rice.

Captain Mark Noble was yet to register his first goal of the campaign but put that record straight, as he stepped up and gave Guaita no chance.

The hosts didn't let their heads drop though and this was evident when Christian Benteke tested Fabianski but the Pole was equal to the striker's effort and the Irons went into the break with a slender advantage although they knew it perhaps should have been more.

In a complete role reversal to the first-half, Roy Hodgson's men dominated large parts of the second and should have equalised on 53 minutes. McArthur beat the offside trap and linked up well with Patrick Van Aanholt. The Dutchman then played McArthur back in, meaning all he had to do was score but instead, he inexplicably managed to send the ball wide.

Pellegrini made some late changes on Monday night and he did the same here. It wasn't until the 68th minute that the Chilean decided to make his first change with Marko Arnautovic replacing Javier Hernández.

The Eagles had brought on Michy Batshuayi for Benteke seven minutes earlier and he was already causing the visitors problems. He wasted a great chance himself when he fired wide while one-on-one with Fabianski.

Despite playing well in the first half, it was clear to most of the travelling support that Antonio was struggling to keep up with the action so, on 73 minutes, Pellegrini decided that Pedro Obiang would enter the fray in his place.

When the home side eventually got on the scoresheet, it was via a huge deflection. Wilfried Zaha raced into the area, played a one-two with McArthur and then the striker's low cross deflected off the unfortunate Issa Diop and past Fabianski.

Palace were coming on strong now and in order to preserve the point, the Hammers made their final change with six minutes of normal time to play as Pablo Zabaleta replaced Fredericks.

Both sides had further chances to claim all three points but in the end, it had to be said that a point was a fair result.

West Ham can enjoy a well earned break before they are back in action on 22 February when they face a London derby under the lights with newly-promoted Fulham in Stratford.

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