West Ham United looked to end a very bad week for the club on a high when they hosted strugglers Crystal Palace at the London Stadium and they done it in some style, putting three past the South London side. Slaven Bilic revealed in the week that star man, Dimitri Payet, does not want to play for the club anymore and will refuse to play in order to force a move away. But the Hammers proved that they didn't need the Frenchman to produce an impressive win.
The game started very cagey from both sides, with no real chances of note at both ends. The first real chance came with the half an hour mark approaching, Mark Noble done brilliantly well to get away down the right flank and fired a great cross in for Andy Carroll. He had plenty of space from around 12 yards to sort himself out and chose the volley at the first time of asking - and it just fired over the crossbar.
Palace could have been in front on 36 minutes through the ex West Ham defender, James Tomkins as Andros Townsend fired in the free kick, going over the heads of everyone else in the box, but finding the foot of the defender. He got a great poke on it but it wriggled agonisingly wide at the back post with the incoming Ledley unable to get to the ball in time. It was a let off for the home side.
Both sides went into the break level, having had their chances to go in front and it was beginning to look like a game which either side could go and win.
West Ham were really starting to pile on the pressure and would have been totally deserving of a lead but were going very close multiple times. But in the 68th minute, they managed to find a way through. Noble produced a great through ball which set off Michail Antonio into the box, and he nicked the ball around Wayne Hennessey who came off his line. With the goal at his mercy, Antonio squared the ball to Sofiane Feghouli who made no mistake in tapping the ball into an open net. A deserved lead for the home side.
West Ham added a second eleven minutes later through an absolutely world class goal from Carroll. Manuel Lanzini laid the ball off to Antonio on the right of the box who fired a great cross to Carroll on the left and he caught it with the sweetest of overhead kicks that sent the ball smashing into the back of the net. There was nothing Hennessey could do about it and West Ham were two ahead in true style.
With time running out, West Ham put the game beyond any doubt when a terrific break ended up in a third goal. Winston Reid cleared a cross from Loic Remy at the other end and set off Antonio on the break. He raced down the middle of the park, and laid the ball off beautifully to Lanzini who continued the run. Hennessey was again out far too early and couldn't do a lot as Lanzini chipped the ball past him, jumping into the crowd as he celebrated.
There were no more real chances to report and West Ham got a much needed win to widen the gap even more between them and the bottom three, and after that, will be looking up rather than over their shoulders. The defeat leaves Palace worryingly close to the relegation zone, only out of it on goal difference.
Goalkeeper and Defence
Darren Randolph (7) - He didn't have an awful lot to do but when he was tested, he passed the test with flying colours. It says a lot about a goalkeeper when they don't get majorly tested for the majority of the game but never lose focus.
Aaron Cresswell (6) - It wasn't a great game for the left back. Townsend caused him a few problems down that flank and if it wasn't for them not being able to take their chances when they had them, then he could have been punished. However, his distribution of the ball was good and halped a lot going forward.
Winston Reid (7) - He never really looked tested but that is a good sign. He had Christian Benteke in his pocket all game and never gave their main goal threat a sniff. He is having a great season so far.
Angelo Ogbonna (6) - He was a lot more steady and assured at the back than he has been in recent weeks. It looked like he knew his role well and he never really put his side at risk. He may have picked up a slight knock as he was taken off at half time.
James Collins (7) - He was very solid on his return to the side. He hasn't had as much game time as he would have liked this season but he proved that he is an asset to the side and can fill in very adequately when called upon. He worked well with Reid to nullify any real threat that Palace may have had.
Midfield and Attack
Pedro Obiang (7) - The reliable holding midfielder again produced a very assured display and rarely let anything past him. His distribution was good and he won pretty much every challenge that he was involved in. Another one who is having a great season.
Mark Noble (7) - The West Ham skipper has come under some criticism this year for putting in too many below average performances compared to last season but he looked very motivated and he put in a good performance yesterday. He isn't known for his exploits going forward but he really tried to go forward and he created his fair share of chances.
Sofiane Feghouli (8) - He is someone who has disappointed since joining in the summer, having been so highly rated in Spain. But yesterday we saw what he is really about. He gave their full backs so many problems when running at them and they did not know how to deal with him. He also got his first league goal of the season to open the scoring.
Michail Antonio (9) - He continued a very good season yesterday and became the first West Ham player since Paolo Di Canio in 2000 to record three assists in one game. With Payet looking to be soon gone, players like Antonio are going to need to step up and be that creative spark for the side and he certainly did that yesterday.
Manuel Lanzini (8) - Many are predicting the young playmaker to be the one who Bilic is going to build his team around now and he justified that. Most of the attacks went through him and he just looked so confident. He capped off an impressive performance with a great finish to kill the away side off.
Andy Carroll (9) - He would have been many peoples man of the match and it would be hard to argue with that. He held the ball up so well and was bringing three or four players into play multiple times. His distribution to the wide areas was very good and he scored probably the best goal he's ever scored with an outrageous scissor kick. Brilliant performance.
Sam Byram (7) - The young right back has been out injured for a few months and made his return to the side when Ogbonna came off at half time. He slotted in seemlessly and contributed a lot at both ends. When fit, he is probably West Ham's best right back.
Edimilson Fernandes (N/A) - The Swiss midfielder was brought on with time running out more to run the clock down than to make any impact.
Ashley Fletcher (N/A) - He was brought on at the same time as Fernandes for most likely the same reason. With the team playing so well, it was hard for him to come on in place of someone earlier in the game.