Match Thread

Match Thread: West Ham v Crystal Palace

West Ham v Crystal Palace
FA Premier League
London Stadium
KO 3pm
TV: None

Please use this thread to comment on the match as it progresses.

Opposition Q & A

Opposition Q&A with Crystal Palace

This weekend, bolstered by two wins on the bounce (perhaps Dan can let us know when we last scored 3 goals in consecutive league games) West Ham welcome our South London neighbours Crystal Palace to the Olympic Stadium. Ahead of the game I caught up with old friend and Crystal Palace die-hard fan, Angela Couch, currently living in exile in Lincoln, but still managing to come down for games, to discuss the game and the season.

Hi Ange, after the current round of mid-week games Crystal Palace sit 4 places behind West Ham with 12 points. That must have been a particularly painful loss to Brighton on Wednesday: what are your feelings on the season so far?
On the most part I think Crystal Palace have played well when I’ve watched them this season. We just can’t seem to get the ball in the back of the net and that’s not through lack of shots. I thought Jordan Ayew would have a run in the side and could net us a hatful of goals, especially with Benteke being out of action. I hoped Jordan would start every game and provide us with a proper, well-needed, striker but we don’t seem to play a striker at all.

Having had three consecutive one season visits to the Premier League, with this being your fifth season in the top flight, you must consider yourselves to be ‘established’?
Firmly established just above the relegation zone but living in hope each season we’ll creep into the top half of the table.

You’ve been through a lot of managers in the past ten years including two of own ex-managers in Big Sam and Pards, are there any that you think should have been given a bit more time? How does Roy Hodgson rate on the list? Is he going to be your manager for the long term?
I had to look up just how many managers we have had over the past ten years and yes, it is a lot.
Starting with Neil Warnock back in 2010, I was gutted when he left. It’s strange that you can dislike someone but as soon as they become your team’s manager you can easily change your mind. Neil Warnock was a lot calmer when he came to Palace and he did good for us. I believe he left because he wanted to retire. Mmmmm. That didn’t last long.
I quite liked Alan Pardew as a manager but I think it was the right time for him to leave the club. Sam Allardyce was another manager that I did not like before he came to the club. I remember feeling very upset when I heard he had been appointed. It was actually my dad that made me feel better about it, he said it was probably just what Palace needed. He was right. I would have liked Big Sam to have stayed longer, definitely.
I was not a big fan of Roy Hodgson when he came to Palace but he has been a stabling influence on the club and we needed that. He is also a Palace man through and through, having been born in Croydon (as was I). I like the way he sets out the team to attack when we can and not always sit back like so many other Palace teams have done in the past. One thing I would say though is that we need to incorporate a proper striker and I don’t think Wilf is at his best in that position. I hope he stays for the rest of this season at least.

What do you think about Manuel Pelligrini’s appointment and tenure as West Ham manager?
I think it is a great appointment for West Ham. If he continues to take West Ham in the right direction I think he could stick with the club for years.

Which teams have impressed you at Selhurst Park this season, and which teams do you think will end up in the Champions League slots?
Arsenal played well at Selhurst. Most of the other teams didn’t look that impressive.
Champions League slots – Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal.

On the other hand who has been poor this season, and who are your favourites for relegation?
Burnley were poor. I was at that match and it was a fantastic atmosphere. Burnley offered very little, which is strange because I have seen them in other matches and they looked like they had enough not to be relegated.
My favourites for relegation are Huddersfield, Fulham and Cardiff. Southampton always manage to sneak out of trouble at the last minute.

What positions do you think Crystal Palace and West Ham will occupy at the end of the season?
Palace will likely finish 16th, just above Southampton. West Ham 10th.

I’m sure most teams in the League (apart from Man Utd) would take Wilfred Zaha, which other player(s) would you be loathe to lose?
As a Palace fan I am used to losing our best players so I don’t get too upset about it anymore. I like our new midfielder Max Meyer. I want to keep him in the side.

Who would you be happy to see go?
Another midfielder, Milivojevic. He is not always in the game enough. Some of the ex-Liverpool players like Martin Kelly and Christian Benteke. (Although, I understand that the whole time that Benteke has been playing for us he has had an injury.)

Most West Ham fans I think (without any evidence to back it up) were surprised to see James Tompkins and Cheikhou Kouyaté leave West Ham, how are these former ‘fans favourites’ transfers turning out for Crystal Palace?
Tompkins has been immense. One of the first on the team sheet now.
It has taken Kouyate a little bit of time but he has started to play well. He definitely adds something to the team.

Which if any West Ham players would you like to see playing for Palace and why?
Quite a few. I like Lanzini, Antonio, Perez, Arnautovic, Hernandez. People that can score goals because that is what we are lacking at Palace.

How will Crystal Palace set out against West Ham on Saturday? Formation/Team?


Wan-Bissaka Tomkins Sakho Van Aarnholt

McArthur Kouyaté Milivojevic Meyer

Zaha Townsend

Are you confident you can get a positive result away at West Ham this weekend? Prediction for the score?
No, I am not confident. West Ham are in good form at the moment and I think they will win 3-1.

Well many thanks to Angela for her time. I hope she is right and that we can win another game and score three more goals, but surely it can’t be true? A bubble of a dream, rising high, let’s hope it won’t fade. 3 – 1 West Ham 3 – 1. COYI

Embed from Getty Images

Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Crystal Palace

Blast from the past

Today’s blast from the past features a 4-0 victory at Upton Park against this weekend’s opponents, Crystal Palace; it arrived just over 46 years ago, on the 28th of October 1972 in front of 28,894 spectators. Lieutenant Pigeon’s ‘Mouldy Old Dough’ was number one and Barry Crocker, Barry Humphries, Peter Cook and Spike Milligan were in UK cinemas in The Adventures of Barry McKenzie while, six days previously, England goalkeeper Gordon Banks was involved in the car accident that led to his retirement. In East London, legendary Hammer Trevor Brooking (pictured below) scored twice against our south London neighbours, while ‘Pop’ Robson and John McDowell completed the Irons’ goalscoring.

Embed from Getty Images

Ron Greenwood’s Hammers ended the 1972/73 season in sixth place in the First Division while Crystal Palace ended up relegated in 21st. Liverpool won the league title and Sunderland won the FA Cup. Robson finished the season as the club’s top scorer with 28 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions – he would also be voted Hammer of the Year, with Billy Bonds runner-up.

West Ham United: Bobby Ferguson, John McDowell, Tommy Taylor, Bobby Moore, Frank Lampard, Johnny Ayris, Pat Holland, Trevor Brooking, Clive Charles, Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson, Clyde Best.

Club Connections

West Ham United Academy product and 2012 Hammer of the Year runner-up James Tomkins could feature for Crystal Palace, as could fellow former Hammer Cheikhou Kouyate. A large group of players have turned out for the Hammers and the Eagles. Divided here by position, they include:

Goalkeepers: Perry Suckling, Steve Mautone, Vincent Blore.

Defenders: Eddie Presland, Kenny Brown, Malcolm Pyke, Alf Noakes, Bill Roberts, Neil Ruddock, Paul Brush, Danny Gabbidon, Jose Fonte, Chris Powell, Alan Stephenson, Tony Gale, Darren Powell.

Midfielders: Victor Moses, Jimmy Wood, Anton Otulakowski, Hayden Mullins, Derek Jackman, Carl Fletcher, Harry Gunning, Jobi McAnuff, Fred Norris, Trevor Dawkins, Kyel Reid, Ray Houghton, Michael Hughes.

Strikers: Joe Johnson, Ron Williams, Freddie Sears, Ian Wright, Andy Smillie, Jeroen Boere, Johnny Cartwright, Johnny Byrne, Peter Simpson, Clive Allen, Dave Swindlehurst, Paul Kitson, Ron Brett, Dave Sexton, Marouane Chamakh, George Petchey.

Malcolm Allison and Jack Tresadern played for the Hammers and managed the Eagles, while Iain Dowie played for both clubs and also managed Palace. Alan Pardew played for the Eagles and managed both clubs. Sam Allardyce has also managed both clubs.

Today’s focus though is on a former Hammers defender and captain who had a loan spell with the Eagles. Matthew Upson was born in Suffolk on 18th April 1979. Originally at Ipswich’s School of Excellence, Upson joined Luton as a trainee after Ipswich youth coach, and current West Ham United Academy Director, Terry Westley moved to the Hatters. Upson joined Arsenal in 1997 after just one league appearance for Luton. After a year out with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, the centre-half spent a short loan spell with Nottingham Forest.

Upson moved to Alan Smith’s Crystal Palace on loan in the spring of 2001, making his debut in a 2-0 home defeat to Preston on 3rd March 2001. He was on the losing side in each of his first four appearances for the Eagles as the First Division outfit battled against relegation but he tasted success in his fifth match, a 1-0 win over Crewe at Selhurst Park. He helped the Eagles to another clean sheet in his next match, a goalless draw with Huddersfield which ultimately relegated the Terriers, with Palace surviving at their expense by a single point. His seventh and final appearance for Crystal Palace came in a 2-2 draw at Watford on 7th April 2001.

Embed from Getty Images

Upson spent the 2001/02 season back at Highbury, making 14 Premier League appearances which earnt him a title winners’ medal at the end of the campaign. He broke his leg in February 2002 and joined Reading on loan in September 2002 to aid his recovery and return to action. He signed permanently for David Sullivan and David Gold’s Birmingham in January 2003 and spent four years with the Blues, winning seven England caps during his time at St Andrew’s.

The 27-year-old Upson signed for Alan Curbishley’s West Ham United in January 2007 for an initial fee of £6m, rising to £7.5m depending on appearances. Birmingham boss Steve Bruce later claimed that he was forced to sell Upson by Karren Brady, Birmingham’s managing director at the time. Upson made his debut for the relegation-threatened Hammers at Aston Villa on 3rd February 2007, but had to be withdrawn with a calf injury 30 minutes into the 1-0 defeat. He lasted just 11 minutes of his comeback match a month later against Tottenham before again succumbing to injury in a match the Irons would eventually lose 4-3.

West Ham eventually pulled off the Great Escape without Upson but he was to have a much bigger impact throughout the rest of his career in claret and blue. He made 33 appearances in a 2007/08 season which saw West Ham finish tenth in Curbishley’s only full campaign in charge – his first goal for the Hammers was the winner in a 2-1 triumph over Manchester United at Upton Park on 29th December 2007. Upson also made a return to the England side under Fabio Capello in a 2-1 win over Switzerland in February 2008, becoming the first Hammers centre-half to wear the Three Lions since Rio Ferdinand eight years earlier.

In July 2008, Upson’s squad number of 6 was retired by the club in memory of Bobby Moore, after which he took the number 15 shirt. Gianfranco Zola took over early on in a 2008/09 campaign which saw Upson make 41 appearances in all competitions as the Irons finished ninth – he also won a further seven England caps, becoming a mainstay of Capello’s defence and making five starts. He was named Man of the Match and scored his first goal for his country in a 2-1 win in Germany in November 2008. Upson was linked with a £10m move to Manchester City and Tottenham in the January window of 2009, but Zola and the board opted to cash in on Craig Bellamy instead.

The 2009/10 season began with Upson being appointed captain after the departure of Lucas Neill. Upson scored in the season’s opening match, a 2-0 win at Wolves, but bigger clubs had again been sniffing around, with a £15m bid from Liverpool reportedly rejected, while interest from Fiorentina, Arsenal and Aston Villa was also rebuffed. The club opted to sell James Collins instead. Upson made 35 appearances during the campaign, scoring a further two goals – in a 2-1 defeat at Stoke on 17th October 2009 and in a 1-1 draw at Avram Grant’s Portsmouth on 26th January 2010, which was to prove to be his final goal for the Hammers. The cash-strapped Irons avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth but Upson had still impressed sufficiently to travel to South Africa as part of England’s 2010 World Cup squad – he would end the tournament as the Three Lions’ joint-top goalscorer, thanks to his header in the 4-1 second round defeat to Germany (that one is for our visiting German friends this weekend, Hamburg Hammer and ebiwhu!). It was to be Upson’s second goal in his 21st and final cap for his country.

Embed from Getty Images

The 2010/11 season would be an unmitigated disaster for West Ham United. Grant joined the club as manager from Portsmouth, the first appointment by Upson’s former Birmingham employers Sullivan and Gold. He made 35 appearances as the Hammers were relegated in bottom position – his final match in claret and blue came in a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City on 1st May 2011. The 32-year-old Upson left the club on a free transfer later that summer, opting to remain in the Premier League with Stoke. Upson had made 145 appearances for West Ham United, scoring four goals – each of these four goals can be viewed in my video below.

After a year and a half with Stoke, Upson dropped down to the Championship to sign for Brighton, initially on loan before making the move permanent in the summer of 2013. He returned to the top flight with Leicester a year later before signing for Championship side MK Dons in the summer of 2015. He retired from playing in 2016. Now 39, Upson is currently working as a pundit for the BBC – he has a son, Elijah, with his wife Ellie, a British runner.


The referee on Saturday will be Anthony Taylor – his most recent Irons appointment was for our 4-0 opening-day defeat at Liverpool. The Hammers were only allocated the 40-year-old once last season, for our 1-0 home win over Chelsea in December 2017. In 2016/17, Taylor took charge of our 2-0 defeat at Everton in October 2016 and our 2-1 opening-day defeat at Chelsea in August 2016, awarding the home side a penalty and later controversially failing to issue a second yellow card to Diego Costa for an awful lunge at Adrian – Costa remained on the pitch to score the 89th-minute winner. He also refereed our 1-0 defeat at Leicester on New Year’s Eve 2016 and our 1-0 win over Tottenham in May 2017. Taylor officiated the Irons on five occasions in 2015/16 as he took charge of our defeat at Tottenham, as well as our home win over Newcastle which came just three games after he had controversially sent off Adrian against Leicester. He was also the man in the middle for our FA Cup third round win over Wolves and our 3-2 win at Everton in March 2016.

Embed from Getty Images

Indeed, controversy and incident are never far away when the Cheshire-based official is the referee for a West Ham United match. Taylor was in charge when the Hammers took on Liverpool at Upton Park in April 2014, awarding a controversial and ultimately match-winning penalty to the Reds. There was also controversy surrounding Guy Demel’s equaliser for West Ham in that game. Taylor is also the referee who had not one, but two red cards rescinded from the same game after he had sent off Carlton Cole and Darron Gibson in the Hammers’ 2-1 home defeat to Everton in December 2012. He sent off the home side’s Kevin Mirallas against the Hammers at Goodison Park in March 2016 and awarded the Toffees a penalty which Romelu Lukaku saw saved by Adrian.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United are without Ryan Fredericks, Winston Reid, Aaron Cresswell, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Manuel Lanzini, Andriy Yarmolenko and Marko Arnautovic. Pablo Zabaleta is one yellow card away from a one-match suspension. West Ham are unbeaten in their last six Premier League matches against Crystal Palace, winning three and drawing three.

Crystal Palace will be without Scott Dann, Connor Wickham and Christian Benteke.

Looking ahead to our next match against Fulham, Aleksandar Mitrovic is one yellow card away from missing our trip to Craven Cottage – Fulham face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku; Snodgrass, Rice, Noble, Anderson; Perez, Chicharito.

Possible Crystal Palace XI: Hennessey; Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, van Aanholt; McArthur, Milivojevic, Kouyate, Meyer; Zaha, Townsend.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!

The S J Chandos Column

Can West Ham's fit strikers capitalise on the 'opportunity' presented by Arnautovic's injury absence?

As a Hammers fan you always fear the worst when Marko Arnautovic sustains an injury. And quite rightly so, the Austrian forward has become our talisman and hitherto the striker most likely to score on a regular basis. Arnautovic proved that last season, recovering from a shaky start to his Hammers career, and so far this season once again leading the way with a five goal haul. But it is not only his goals that we could miss, it is also his link up play and ‘never say die’ attitude that inspires the team and attracts the admiration of the fans. There is little doubt that we will miss him on a number of levels, but it does raise the question whether it will it be an opportunity for the other fit strikers in the squad to shine?

Indeed, Pellegrini has addressed this very issue, challenging the other West Ham strikers to ‘step up to the plate’ during Arnautovic’s anticipated month long absence. He has been quoted as stating:

‘We know how important Marko is for our team. We have too many players injured in a month that we have to play seven games and then in January six more games. But I always have the same answer – we have a squad and it is a chance for another player to demonstrate why they are here. So we must continue working with the players that are able to in this moment and hope that the others can recover as soon as they can.’

‘I was very happy with Lucas Perez, the other day, that he took his chance and scored two goals. I am pleased for him because he is a player that I brought to this team. I have known for years before that he is a good striker, but for different reasons he could not start in other games. The important thing is when they have the chance, they take the chance. With the long injury to Marko, Andy Carroll is back now as well and Perez, Javier Hernandez Xande Silva. I hope that all of them cover the absence of Marko.’

There is not doubt that Perez took his chances well against Cardiff City. While Hernandez looked much more like his old self in bagging a brace at St James in the previous match. The question for me is whether either Perez or Hernandez can play up front on their own in the way Arnautovic does so well? Hernandez (unsurprisingly) seems to struggle in a lone strike role and it is probably no coincidence that his improved performance against Newcastle Utd came in playing in a front two. The same may apply to Perez, so could it be that Pellegrini will adjust his formation to accommodate starting two strikers, with Silva promoted to the bench? We shall see on Saturday? The due consideration tactically for Pellegrini, in pursuing that course of action, is the potential consequences of losing a player out wide or, more likely, in midfield to in order to accommodate it.

It was interesting that Pellegrini mentioned Silva and put him firmly in the frame. As readers will recall, Silva started the season like a steam train in the U-21s and his progress was only halted by injury. He is now back from injury and looks the promising young player that we anticipated him to be. Pellegrini’s reference is a very likely indicator that he has him in mind for a possible elevation to the bench. Again, we shall see? One player that does definitely need to make a positive impact now is Andy Carroll. He has been out since the summer and needs to start earning his not inconsiderate ‘corn’ at the football club. If he is finally injury free and, achieves some sort of form, he could be a very useful alternative option. I know he is usually heralded for his obvious strengths, such as his physicality and dominance in the air, but he is also a far better footballer (on the deck) than he is ever given credit for by most commentators. It is a shame that Carroll never got to work with a coach like Pellegrini earlier in his career, he may well have better developed the more technical aspects of his game. Regardless, I imagine that practicalities mean that Carroll will start off on the bench and build up his playing time gradually.

However, Pellegrini has also been the bearer of some bad news about Jack Wilshere’s availability on Saturday. It appears that Wilshere is feeling some discomfort in his ankle and Pellegrini is going to rest him for the Palace game as a precautionary measure. He was quoted as saying that:

‘With Wilshere, it is his ankle, he is not 100% comfortable, so he will not be involved in this game. I think it is just this game, I hope that next week he will be ok.’

Amen to that! Pellegrini may be right in his recent assertion that we got a potential £100m player in Jack Wilshere, but ultimately he has to be fit and playing to prove it and make the commensurate level of impact for the club.

SJ. Chandos.

Talking Point

Why do we do it?

Guest Post by Gary Hyams

This is my first article, so it seems logical, before criticising the football, I should commentate on the fans.

‘Fortune always hiding, I’ve looked everywhere.’ Surely, no football club in the world has an anthem which sums up its club so well. Week after week we go, knowing we could be subjected to severe psychological damage, but dreaming of and craving that rush of adrenalin when we score and the ecstasy of a win. But often, it is, ‘Then, like my dreams, they fade and die.’

Why do we do it? The logical approach would be to pick a team with the most resources behind it and support them. Is it because a lot of us were born in the East End? We withstood the Blitz, so we can put up with the occasional loss of a football game? Or we are stoic and can endure pain without showing our feelings or complaining. No, we are cockneys, who have spread into large parts of Essex, but retain the moral courage which defines us. We’re not going to give up our side because of the occasional setback.
And we have an ability to laugh at ourselves when things go wrong. You know, if I turned my back on the football and listened to the fans, I could probably get as much entertainment as watching the game.

Players come and go, but the fans go on and on. West Ham United is not the property of its owners, it is a community and the owners have bought the privilege of running this community for the benefit of the fans. And it is right they should hold the owners to high standards. The money that flows into the club from television rights and gate receipts is owed to the community.

The fans will not put up with lies. The fans I listen to every game are sophisticated. They expect to and should be treated with respect. We know we have been sold a dead duck of a stadium. It is ridiculous that we are only paying £2.5 million for the rights to use the stadium, when Spurs are paying up to one billion pounds for their new ground. And the Government body, the LLDC, are losing £20 million a year, largely due to the complete cock-up with regards to taking out and putting back the lower seating. Worst of all, the freeholders and leaseholders are in dispute, spending thousands of pounds on legal fees.

And when we go to a game, we become a community. I take my grandson. I passed on my love of the club to my three sons. My grandfather travelled with the team and I was brought up on stories about the white horse at Wembley. As a community, we share our joy and our grief.

So, what do I want to see for West Ham fans? I want to be able to view every away game on my TV and I don’t mind paying for the privilege. I want there to be Wi Fi in the stadium. I want to be able to watch replays on the big screens – I am not interested in adverts. I want better entertainment before a game starts. And I want to see commitment from our players, each of whom has the privilege to play for West Ham.

Copyright © 2018 Iain Dale Limited. Terms and conditions. Cookies.
Website by Russell Brown.