By 90Min
January 29, 2018

West Ham welcome Crystal Palace to the London Stadium on Tuesday night, with both teams looking for a valuable three points in their respective battles again relegation.

Both sides have enjoyed improvements in form, though both come into this fixture fresh off the back of disappointing defeats.

David Moyes' side were humbled at the DW Stadium on Saturday as Wigan comfortably saw off the Hammers in the FA Cup fourth round, with Arthur Masuaku's sending off for spitting compounding the visitors' misery.

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Crystal Palace meanwhile have had plenty of time to digest their 4-1 mauling against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium over a week ago. 


The Eagles went into the match having tasted defeat only once in their last ten games, but capitulated in the opening 25 minutes against the Gunners, conceding four times in a torrid opening period. Though Palace improved in the second half, Roy Hodgson will no doubt have reminded his players that such lapses in concentration could prove costly in their relegation battle.


These two London rivals shared the spoils at Selhurst Park as Palace battled back to a 2-2 draw in October. Wilfried Zaha's last-minute equaliser completed the Eagles comeback from two goals down, in a match that has gone on to prove pivotal in reversing the fortunes of Roy Hodgson's men.

90+7. Relief.

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Both teams will look at this contest as a game they should win, with David Moyes' Hammers sure to be eager to capitalise on home advantage. Only a point separates the two clubs in the Premier League table, with West Ham currently in 11th place and Palace in 13th.


The fight to beat the drop is shaping up to be one of the closest fought relegation battles in recent times, with bottom clubSwansea trailing 9th placed Everton by just eight points.


Classic Encounter

These two sides have collided on 55 occasions over the course of history, with West Ham getting the better of their south London rivals more often than not.

One of their more memorable clashes came just under two years ago, with the Hammers enjoying a fairytale final season at their famous Upton Park home. Slaven Bilic was revelling in his first campaign at his former club, with European aspirations firmly on the Hammers agenda.

Alan Pardew's side meanwhile were just outside the drop zone, and keen to snaffle a result at their neighbourhood rivals. Indeed, the visitors struck the first blow inside a quarter of an hour as Damien Delaney nodded home after a mistake from home goalkeeper, Adrian.

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The hosts quickly turned the game on its head as their new breed of class and confidence began to show through. First, the diminutive Manuel Lanzini levelled things up with a low shot into the corner, before the Hammers won a free-kick on the edge of the box five minutes before half time.

Their main man Dimitri Payet stepped up, bending a sublime, unstoppable free-kick past the hapless Wayne Hennessey to score his 12th goal of the season.

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The Hammers' hopes of Champions League qualification took a huge knock though, as first, Cheikhou Kouyate was shown a straight red card for a lazy lunge at Dwight Gayle, before the fallen Palace man turned goalscorer 15 minutes from time to rescue a 2-2 draw for the Eagles, much to Bilic and the home fans dismay.


Key Battle

Pablo Zabaleta vs Wilfried Zaha

The home side will come into this one wondering where the goals might come from after key pair Marko Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini suffered injuries in recent weeks. With the Hammers key offensive duo ruled out, the game's main threat is likely to be posed by Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha.

The Ivory Coast international has been in wonderful form under Roy Hodgson, with the Eagles tactical system seemingly getting the best out of the former Manchester United man.

Happy Birthday bro @christianbenteke 👊🏿

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He is likely to start on the left wing for Palace, prompting a showdown with former Manchester City stalwart Pablo Zabaleta. David Moyes is likely to use a wing-back system, meaning Zabaleta will be given licence to charge forward when the opportunity presents itself. 

In doing so, the game is likely to open up for Zaha on the counter-attack, with the Eagles sure to be ensuring their star man is given plenty of the ball.


Team News

The Hammers are facing a selection crisis, with several first-team players ruled out through injury or suspension.

Marko Arnautovic, Manuel Lanzini, Michail Antonio, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho are all missing, leaving Andre Ayew and Javier Hernandez as David Moyes' only senior attacking options.

First day at work ✅ #welcomemario

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Arthur Masuaku is suspended after his sending off at Wigan, while Pedro Obiang limped off with a worrying looking knee injury. New signing Joao Mario could start in midfield, while Winston Reid could return after a groin injury. Jose Fonte is a long-term absentee.

Roy Hodgson has a few injuries of his own to contend with but will take comfort from making two new signings this week. Defender Jaroslaw Jach could go straight into the squad after finalising his move to Selhurst Park, as could midfielder Erdal Rakip.

Defensive options Scott Dann, Mamadou Sakho and Jeff Schlupp miss out through injury, as do midfielders Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Jason Puncheon.

Potential West Ham Lineup: Adrian, Zabaleta, Reid, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Joao Mario, Noble, Kouyate, Ayew, Hernandez

Potential Crystal Palace Lineup: Hennessey, Ward, Fosu-Mensah, Tomkins, van Aanholt, Milivojevic, McArthur, Townsend, Sako, Zaha, Benteke


Prediction

The Hammers injury woes are a major blow to David Moyes, with this fixture likely to have been earmarked as a potential three points for the home side.

West Ham won this corresponding fixture 3-0 last season, with Palace's first trip to the London Stadium ending in bitter disappointment.

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The Eagles are in better shape to compete with this Hammers side despite their heavy defeat at Arsenal and will look to exploit the weakened lineup that David Moyes is sure to put out. Belief has been restored to Roy Hodgson's men and they will be confident of taking a point home with them.

Prediction: West Ham 1-1 Crystal Palace

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