Returning hero Wilfried Zaha salvaged a point for Crystal Palace as the South London superstar’s 76th minute equalising goal ensured the points were shared in an entertaining game at Selhurst Park
West Ham took the lead 27 minutes in from the spot after Michail Antonio was brashly brought down in the penalty area by the Vicente Guaita, allowing Mark Noble to give the Hammers the lead in the first half.
Palace dominated the majority of the game but couldn’t find a way though a stubborn West Ham defence with an outstanding Lukasz Fabianski between the sticks keeping everything out.
But finally, after much pressure, the equalising goal came with 15 minutes to go through Zaha, who returned to the squad following a spell out through suspension.
The Ivorian international found his way through on goal, and with some luck from a West Ham defender, Zaha lobbed the ball over Fabianski to give Palace the equaliser, and to ensure the points were shared when the final whistle blew.
Story of the Game
Possession was few and far between for the visitors as Palace controlled the tempo for the majority of the opening stages of this London derby.
James McArthur came close to breaking the deadlock 20 minutes in for the hosts when the Scottish international found himself free in the area, but Fabianski made a big save to deny the midfielder.
Despite the pressure and possession, it was West Ham that took the lead as the East London side were awarded a penalty in the 27th minute when Antonio was clattered inside the area by Guaita.
West Ham skipper Noble stepped up, and sent the Palace keeper the wrong way to give the visitors a surprise lead.
Christian Benteke almost gave Palace an instant equaliser straight from the restart when the former Liverpool striker cut in from the right wing and fired towards goal, but Fabianski, again, was there to meet the strike with another good save.
The Eagles teased an equalising goal for the rest of the first half, but Fabianksi’s goal remained untested going into the break.
Roy Hodgson’s side should have levelled the game 53 minutes in when McArthur again found himself through on goal, and despite dropping Fabianski to the ground with a shimmy, the midfielder blasted the ball into the side netting from six-yards out.
A Palace equaliser had been coming all half, and finally, it came in the 76th minute through returning star player Zaha.
The winger found himself through on goal after a lucky pass from McArthur found the Ivorian, and with some luck from a West Ham defender, Zaha’s shot lobbed over Fabianski into the back of the net to make it 1-1 with 15 minutes to go.
The pressure continued to pile for West Ham, but Pellegrini’s side were able to escape with the single point.
Takeaways from the Game
Batshuayi and Zaha can be a threat in the Premier League
Crystal Palace were the dominant side for the entire 90 minutes, but that dominance has elevated a level when Batshuayi replaced Benteke just past the hour mark.
Him alongside Zaha proved to be a handful for the West Ham defence, and although it was the Ivorian who proved to be the saviour for the hosts, the former Manchester United man was granted more freedom to do what he does best with Batshuayi on the pitch.
Fabianski proves to be West Ham’s most valuable defender
West Ham were outclassed in every area of the pitch today, but had it not been for yet another impressive Fabianski performance, the scoreline could have been disastrous for the Hammers.
The Polish international was a monster in goal today, stopping everything that came his way and doing everything he could to keep his team in the game. A bit of luck from Palace ensured they got away from this game with something, but today was a day Fabianski can look back on and be proud of.