Crystal Palace welcome West Ham to Selhurst Park on Tuesday for a midweek London derby. Both teams currently sit in the bottom half of the Premier League, with Palace bottom of the league, and West Ham currently sitting in 15th. The two sides are separated by six points, so a Palace win could see them move within three points of the Hammers, but a West Ham win will see them stretch the gap to nine points. Newly appointed Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis will be in charge for his first home game and will want to bounce back, after losing away to Norwich in his first game as manager. Sam Allardyce’s Hammers will be in a buoyant mood after defeating Fulham 3-0 in another London derby at the weekend.
The Eagles’ long term absentees are Glenn Murray (Knee), Jack Hunt (Ankle), Paddy McCarthy (Groin) and Adlene Guedioura (Rib). The game will probably come too soon for winger Jerome Thomas who is out with groin injury. Midfielder Jonny Williams could be in line for a start after coming on as a substitute at the weekend.
West Ham are still without a number of players going into the fixture. Striker Andy Carroll (Ankle) and midfielder Alou Diarra (Knee) have been out since the beginning of the season. Winston Reid (Ankle) and Ricardo Vaz Te (Dislocated shoulder) have also been out for some time and are not expected to return for a while. Mladen Petric (Calf) and Razvan Rat (Hamstring) are also out. Ravel Morrison could return to the starting line-up.
Crystal Palace and West Ham’s most recent game was in the Championship. The teams have not played each other in the Premier League since May 1998 where they were involved in an exciting 3-3 draw. Palace are ahead in the teams’ last five meetings winning two of the five games, whereas the Hammers have only come out on top once. The Eagles are also undefeated in their last four at Selhurst Park against the Hammers. The Eagles have only managed to score more than one goal once this season which came in their 3-1 victory against Sunderland. The Hammers have won only one more game than the Eagles in the Prermier League, but have lost four fewer.
Cameron Jerome could have a vital part to play in the Eagles’ upcoming games. The forward is well known by new Palace manager Tony Pulis, which means he is likely to understand more than anyone the way Pulis likes to play. He showed a flash of quality in Palace’s last win against Hull where he laid the winner on for Barry Bannan. Jerome will definitely have to contribute more goals to the Eagles’ cause, but his work rate will allow him to aid Palace in their relegation fight. Jerome is yet to be employed in his preferred central striking role often enough to make an impact, but with more game time he is likely to break his scoring duck for Palace. With Palace’s game likely to be based on counter-attacking both home and away, Jerome’s pace will become important for manager Tony Pulis.
Ravel Morrison is the Hammers’ top scorer this season, and has flourished after being given an opportunity to play regular top flight football. The midfielder was given a cameo appearance against Fulham at the weekend, in which he looked lively and provided an assist. Sam Allardyce will have to be careful not to burn out the youngster, or place too much responsibility on him at such a young age. At the same time, Morrison has become a very important player in the Hammers’ squad, often proving a creative spark. Morrison has two goals and three assists, which means he has contributed just under half of the Hammers’ twelve league goals this season. This stat shows the positive effect that Morrison has had after being given the chance to express himself in the West Ham team this year.
London derby’s often throw up surprise results. The Crystal Palace faithful will be at their loudest for their new manager’s first game. West Ham will also be up for the game after their 3-0 win at the weekend. The Eagles are struggling to score goals and that is a huge problem that manager Tony Pulis will need to address. The Hammers have not won an away game since the beginning of October, but Sam Allardyce would have picked this game out as the one to potentially change this. If Palace are able to score, a 1-1 draw could be the likely result for this one.