Manuel Lanzini scored the only goal of the game midway through the first half to condemn the Eagles.
Palace were poor and created very minimal chances, even after Hammers left-back Aaron Cresswell was sent off. Christian Benteke – who had a game to forget – failed to even hit the target from the penalty spot late in the second half with his effort drifting high and wide of the right-hand post.
How did each Palace player perform?
Player ratings (0 = worst, 10 = best; players must play at least 15 minutes to earn a rating)
Steve Mandanda – 5: could do nothing about the goal and displayed his ability with a couple of very good saved to keep his side in the game. His usually excellent distribution was wayward on a couple of occasions, though, with Martin Kelly in particular frustrated with the quality of a few passes.
Joel Ward – 4: the international break came at a poor time for Ward as he had just returned to his best form, including a man-of-the-match performance against Everton. The full-back struggled against West Ham, however, and should have done much better to prevent Cresswell’s cross for Lanzini who finished superbly. Ward’s performance was summed up when a poorly executed free-kick routine came his way and he blazed the ball high and wide.
James Tomkins – 4: had a decent game against his former side but was ultimately responsible for gifting too much room for Lanzini to run into to score the only goal of the game. should have been much tighter to defensive partner, Damien Delaney, having been drawn out of his position. Defended well against the physical Simone Zaza and could have scored right at the end when he deflected a cross towards goal.
Damien Delaney – 4: Palace’s distribution is strikingly worse when Delaney plays, even though he has quite clearly been told that he must stop playing long passes to whoever plays as the striker. Struggled against the speed and movement of West Ham’s attack and Zaza’s physicality was often too much for him to handle.
Martin Kelly – 3: the former Liverpool defender struggled against the physicality and pace of Michail Antonio and was subsequently withdrawn at half-time. Only meaningful contribution was a good run down the left and a cross which Adrian gratefully caught.
Overrun midfield struggles
James McArthur – 6: once again Palace’s best performer, although this did not take much to achieve on a night to forget. Tireless work consistently won the ball back for his side but every attack came to nothing. Only negative was that he allowed Lanzini to get goal-side before the Argentine tucked Cresswell’s cross into the corner.
Joe Ledley – 3: strength, energy and superior numbers in the West Ham midfield meant the bearded Welshman failed to have any effect on the game. Passed poorly and sliced a clearance out for a corner unforced which almost led to a corner. Paired Kelly in being taken off at half-time.
Jason Puncheon – 5: was forced slightly deeper than his preferred advanced midfield role to counter West Ham’s five-man midfield which left Benteke isolated. Won the ball back on several occasions but struggled to have an impact in the final third.
Attack fails to deliver
Wilfried Zaha – 5: Slaven Bilic’s switch to a back three was a shrewd decision and it completely stifled Palace’s attack, particularly Zaha. The winger was constantly doubled up on by the Hammers’ defence and failed to find any space to run into. His only meaningful dribble eventually ended up with Cresswell being shown a second yellow card but Palace’s failed to make the most of the man advantage.
Christian Benteke – 5: Bilic had clearly identified Benteke as the Eagles’ biggest threat and his tactics to nullify the Belgian worked to a tee. Winston Reid followed the striker everywhere he went and even when he fouled Benteke in the penalty area, the former Liverpool man’s spot-kick flew high and wide.
Andros Townsend – 4: a poor day at the office for the wide man. His distribution was poor at set pieces even worse. One free-kick, which he absurdly laid off to Ward instead of crossing led to vast frustration from the home faithful.
Zeki Fryers – 5: made his long-awaited home Premier League debut; two years and two months after signing for the club. Replaced Kelly at half-time and was much better than his predecessor without being too spectacular. A couple of nice crosses could have come to much more.
Yohan Cabaye – 5: replaced the poor Ledley and had a much bigger effect on the game in the second half. His tenacity had been missed in the first 45 minutes and his distribution increased the tempo of the Palace attacks.
Connor Wickham – 4: Replaced McArthur with around 25 minutes to go as the Eagles pushed forward for a goal. was unlucky not to score in the final moments as Adrian somehow kept out his header but otherwise failed to have an impact.