The Hammers enter this contest off the back of a 3-0 win over FCSB in the Europa Conference League, comfortably placing them in the last 16 of the competition, but they are somewhat struggling domestically, sitting in 13th place in the league table, picking up just 14 points, whilst Palace occupy 10th place, boasting 16 points from their 12 matches so far this season.
David Moyes’ men have massively overachieved in their last two Premier League campaigns, finishing sixth and seventh respectively, but this season has proven a difficult and frustrating one of the Hammers. A record of four wins, two draws and seven defeats in the top flight leaves them just two points above the relegation zone.
Not many expected the Hammers to topple their recent achievements over the past couple seasons, but not many expected them to be languishing down the bottom at this stage of the season when predictions were made before the season curtain raiser. The East London outfit are already 10 points off the Champions League places and find themselves drowning in the bottom half rather than looking up.
Last week they lost 1-0 to Manchester United in the league, but they come into this week’s game on the heels of a 3-0 victory over FCSB in Europe, which helped them finish first in Group B of the Europa Conference League with 18 points and advance to the knockout stage.
A defeat this weekend could leave West Ham down at the bottom if other results don’t go their way this weekend. If the Hammers are to prop up the table, they will need to recapture their goalscoring form, having just recorded 11 goals so far this term which is a huge concern. Of the teams in the league, only Nottingham Forest (eight) and Wolverhampton Wanderers (six) have scored less goals.
Crystal Palace, however, enters this weekend in strong and solid form having lost just one of their last five in the league, recording three wins in the process, including a 1-0 success over Southampton last weekend.
The Eagles now reside in 10th position, tied with Liverpool in ninth place, with a 4-4-4 record (four wins, four draws, and four defeats). Palace overcame Southampton for the third time in a row courtesy to a first-half goal from Odsonne Edouard, but they have yet to win on the road this season, drawing three and losing two of their five away games.
Patrick Vieira’s side have three more games before the season breaks for the World Cup, after this weekend’s contest with a trip to Newcastle United to come in the EFL Cup before visiting Nottingham Forest in the Premier League next weekend, and two more wins could potentially leave them in and around the top seven, providing them with a much needed boost and confidence when the season restarts during Christmas.
However, the Eagles haven’t triumphed over West Ham in the top flight since 2019 which means the omens simply do not look good coming into this encounter.
WHERE & WHEN?
Venue: London Stadium.
Date: Sunday, 6th November 2022.
Time: 14:00PM. (BST).
Referee: Paul Tierney.
Assistant referee: Constantine Hatzidakis, Neil Davies.
Fourth official: John Brooks.
VAR: Michael Salisbury.
Assistant VAR: Derek Eaton.
West Ham boss Moyes confirmed during his pre-match press conference that Brazilian maestro Lucas Paqueta has been back in training following a shoulder problem and should be available for a return to action this weekend.
However, summer signing Maxwel Cornet and veteran goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski remain doubts for the Hammers due to calf and knee injuries respectively.
After making wholesale changes against FCSB on Thursday night, Declan Rice, Jarrod Bowen, Aaron Cresswell and Gianluca Scamacca should be in line for a return to the starting XI, although Moyes may opt to bring Antonio back into the team after impressing in his short cameo against Manchester United last weekend.
As for Crystal Palace, Vieira stated that both Edouard and Cheick Doucoure trained on Friday afternoon following fitness issues, but the duo would still need to be assessed ahead of kickoff on Sunday.
James McArthur and Chris Richards meanwhile both remain long-term absentees for the South London club and are definitely out of the match through injury.
Considering West Ham United’s terrific sixth and seventh placed finishes over the last two campaigns respectively, it’s safe to say the Hammers are underachieving so far this season, currently sitting in 13th place in the league standings on 14 points, just three points away from the relegation places. A defeat to Palace this weekend, and also depending on other results could see them slip down the bottom once again.
Despite, their tremendous European exploits in the Europa Conference League, it’s domestically where Moyes will be judged and if the Hammers don’t grab wins over the next two games before the World Cup kicks off in three weeks, they could seriously find themselves playing catch-up at Christmas – a position they simply cannot afford to be in.
Last weekend’s defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford was their seventh of the campaign in 13 games, over the last two campaigns, they lost 11 times (2020/21) and 14 times (2021/22) in 38 games in each. Already, they’ve lost half of last season’s tally in just 13 games. They’ve only won two out of their last five league games. If Moyes can take any solace in his side’s current plight, is that they still hold one of the league’s best defences, conceding just 13. Only Arsenal, Manchester City, Everton, and Newcastle United have conceded more.
However, it’s in attack where they are struggling significantly, scoring just 11 goals in their 13 league outings despite adding to it in the summer.
Moyes’ biggest players aren’t in the same rich vein of form as last season, Jarrod Bowen has been a shadow of the player he was last season, leaving his World Cup place this winter in danger. Not only him, Michail Antonio is no longer Moyes’ first choice frontman, Said Benrahma isn’t making the most of his starting opportunities so far and Pablo Fornals also is no longer first choice. If the Hammers are to climb up the table soon, they will desperately need their more experienced and seasoned talents performing at a consistent level.
Crystal Palace are in a more respectable position than their opponents this Sunday, sitting in 10th place on 16 points which is arguably where the Eagles will want to be come May at the end of the campaign. The South London outfit are in fine fettle too, winning three out of their last five games (D1, L1) though it’s also possible to argue that the only thing stopping Patrick Vieira’s men from finishing in the top half this season will be consistency.
Can Palace go on a strong winning run post-World Cup to maintain a healthy position in the top flight? That will of course be the question thrown at Vieira in the coming weeks. Of course, the Eagles possess a relatively young squad and Vieira deserves tremendous credit for how far he’s taken them so far.
From consistent relegation scraps with Roy Hodgson, they are now a side capable of finishing in the top half of the table, and considering the current struggles of West Ham United, Everton, Aston Villa and Leicester City who all sit in the bottom half of the table currently, there probably won’t be a better opportunity for Crystal Palace to have a real chance of securing a top half finish. The onus is on Vieira and his talented group of players to deliver.
Declan Rice remains West Ham United’s most consistent undisputed performer despite their underachievement in the league so far. The England international has featured in all of the Hammer’s 13 outings this season and is arguably the only player in David Moyes’ camp that is performing to a similar level as last season, if not better.
So far this campaign, he’s registered a goal and two assists already close to match all of last season goal contributions tally of five (1 goal, 4 assists). However, it’s not his efforts in the final third that will be under scrutiny but his continued brilliance and consistency when defending his own goal.
Rice has averaged 2.5 tackles, 1.7 interceptions, 1.4 clearances per game so far, whilst only being dribbled past 0.3 times per game. He remains an incredible disrupter of opposition moves but also a metronomic figure in possession, registering 1.3 key passes, creating two big chances and holding a stunning passing accuracy of 91%.
Without question, Rice is England’s most complete midfielder, best defensive midfielder and arguably the finest in the Premier League. The Hammers will be hoping and praying he returns from World Cup duties in top fitness and form, because if they are to improve on their disappointing start to the 2022/23 campaign after the tournament, it will certainly be dependent on the form of Declan Rice.
It’s unclear whether Odsonne Edouard will be fit for the game against West Ham on Sunday after coming off injured in their 1-0 victory over Southampton last weekend, a victory in which the Frenchman notched the all important winner.
If he is to sit out this Sunday, it will be a huge blow to Vieira and Palace considering his fine form in recent weeks. The Paris Saint-Germain academy product has contributed three goals and an assist in his last six appearances for the Eagles. With Wilfried Zaha’s contributions drying up somewhat, Edouard’s form has become a huge bonus in Palace’s fine Premier League form in recent weeks.
In fact, only Zaha has more goal contributions for Vieira this season which emphasises just how important the 24-year-old has become at Selhurst Park. He’s the link-man the likes of Ebere Eze, Michael Olise and Zaha need up front in order for them to be an elusive and unstoppable attacking force.
How damaging it will be for the Eagles’ momentum and consistency if Edouard is forced to sit out against West Ham United.
West Ham United XI to face Crystal Palace (4-2-3-1): Fabianski (GK); Kehrer, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice; Bowen, Fornals, Benrahma; Scamacca.
Crystal Palace XI to face West Ham (4-3-3): Guaita (GK); Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Doucoure, Schlupp, Eze; Olise, Edouard, Zaha.