Crystal Palace vs West Ham could be an early indication of where these two sides are at, with both clubs looking to solidify a place around midtable this season. If one team falters badly in this game, it could indicate a tough season. Both sides already have questions to answer, with West Ham unable to capitalise on a ten man Spurs team for much of last week’s match, whilst Palace supporters will want to know whether they can be safe without the organisation of Tony Pulis.
West Ham couldn’t muster a goal last week, but it could have been so different with Mark Noble missing from the penalty spot with the scores at 0-0 – he’d scored with his previous ten attempts. Can either of these teams kick on this week against more reasonable opposition than Arsenal or Spurs? We’ll find out at 3 o’clock Saturday.
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West Ham averaged 11.3 fouls per game away from home last season, while Crystal Palace averaged 10.6 fouls per game at home.
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If Crystal Palace are lucky, they could have no injury worries come matchday with Scott Dann (thigh), Adrian Mariappa (thigh), Jerome Thomas (knock) and Jonathon Williams all potentially ready for Saturday.
West Ham United
West Ham aren’t in quite as good a shape as Palace with a couple of bad injuries accompanied by some potential comebacks for this game. Carl Jenkinson (hamstring), Matt Jarvis (thigh), Joey O’Brien (knee) and James Tomkins (hamstring) are all maybes for the Palace showdown, but Ravel Morrison and Andy Carroll will certainly miss out with groin and foot injuries respectively. James Collins is also banned following his dismissal against Tottenham.
- Palace completed 64 defensive actions against Arsenal last weekend, including 43 clearances and 19 blocks.
- Palace only won 15/38 headed duels despite their reputation as being a set piece orientated team.
- Last weekend, West Ham completed an impressive 84% of their passes against Spurs, although Spurs spent most of the game playing with ten men before Collins got himself a second yellow card for Sam Allardyce’s side.
- Both sides lost their opening games of this season in London derbies. Palace lost 2-1 to Arsenal thanks to Aaron Ramsey’s late winner and West Ham lost 1-0 to Spurs with Eric Dier netting on his debut.
- Palace won both of the clashes between these two sides last season – both were 1-0 scorelines.
Marouane Chamakh put in many high effort performances last season for Palace and his hard graft will be needed again against a stubborn West Ham side. Chamakh will be integral to Palace this weekend with his willing runs into the channels and wide areas. However, the Moroccan will need to improve his defensive approach as the tall striker committed 11 fouls last week, which was more than 10 of the 20 Premier League teams. Chamakh also only won 6/15 headed duels last week which will need to be bettered if Palace are to retain the ball long enough to formulate attacks. As stated above, Chamakh did work hard last week and the striker completed seven defensive actions including five clearances and two interceptions.
Nolan was unlucky not to score last week with Kyle Naughton blocking his surely goal bound effort with his hands. Lloris would have done well to save such a strike from Nolan but that’s history and the Englishman will have to forget about it. Nolan, like Chamakh, was very hard working last week and defended from the front using his intelligent positioning to poach the ball from Spurs midfielders and attackers. Nolan completed six defensive actions against Spurs which included four clearances and two interceptions. Nolan also completed 82% of his attempted passes which is a good return for an attacking player – although his figure is just shy of West Ham’s 84% average.
My prediction for this game would be 2-1 to West Ham but the Hammers simply cannot take their chances and that has not changed over the summer window. Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia have arrived for big money but we’ll have to wait and see what they can produce. I’ll stick with West Ham 2-1 and gamble on their strikers to play and score. Enjoy the game!