Crystal Palace vs West Ham – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Saturday 29th April 2023
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we take a look at West Ham’s trip to South London. This fixture hasn’t seen a clean sheet from either side in 11 matches – will both sides go for it? Read on with our Crystal Palace vs West Ham prediction.
Crystal Palace vs West Ham Match Preview
Crystal Palace’s 2-0 defeat against Wolves last time out means that although we think they’ll be safe from relegation to the EFL Championship, they’re not out of the woods just yet. By no means did Palace play poorly against Wolves or against Everton in the previous match at Selhurst Park for that matter, but it was noticeable that both teams showed Hodgson’s side plenty of respect territorially, and as such Palace laboured to break down the lower block in both matches.
While Palace were riding on the crest of a wave with three hugely important victories in succession, we don’t think that these latest setbacks will be particularly important in their battle for Premier League survival. They hold an 8-point advantage over Leicester, 9 points over Everton and 13 over Southampton – it’s extremely unlikely that Crystal Palace will slip six places between now and the end of the campaign.
Home matches against Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest could prove tricky as they also defend relatively deep and prefer to counter – although Forest have been abysmal away from home for much of the season. Away matches at Spurs and Fulham mean that Palace do have a tricky ending to their Premier League season, but we expect they’ll probably gain a few points here and there to do enough.
West Ham have shown some improvement at just the right time, and actually, if you take their last 15 Premier League games in isolation, they’re 11th in the table having won 5, drawn 5 and lost 5 matches. Last time out at home to Liverpool, they didn’t have much of the ball (27%) but they carried a goal threat throughout the match and were undone through fine margins – an extremely tight but ultimately correct offside call to deny Jarrod Bowen’s tight finish and a contentious penalty decision that VAR declined to give in West Ham’s favour.
Nevertheless, with a five-point cushion and a game in hand over the rest of the bottom 9, West Ham will feel bullish about their chances of Premier League survival. Though they do face the prospect of 8 games in a month owing to their ongoing participation in the Europa Conference League, West Ham do have a greater squad depth than many of the teams surrounding them in the league table, and they will feel they can pick up the six points or so between now and the end of the season that would more or less guarantee survival.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Andersen, Clyne, Zaha
Will Not Play: Ferguson
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Scamacca
Crystal Palace vs West Ham Lineups (Predicted)
Crystal Palace (4-3-3): Johnstone; Mitchell, Guehi, Richards, Ward; Doucoure, Schlupp, Eze; Ayew, Olise, Edouard
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Cresswell, Aguerd, Zouma, Coufal; Rice, Soucek; Benrahma, Paqueta, Bowen; Antonio
Crystal Palace vs West Ham Analysis
Crystal Palace May Face a Similar Conundrum Here
Namely, breaking down the low block. We don’t mean for you to envision 70-80% possession and West Ham clinging on for dear life – in any case, they weren’t clinging on against Liverpool by any means even though they did have less than 30% of the ball. The issue is that Palace were largely dependent upon shots outside of the area (well taken, but dealt with) and attempting to shoot through crowded penalty areas.
It’s a dilemma that most mid-ranking Premier League teams face – do they construct a squad designed to play possession football and break the opposition down, or do they look to generate their attacking threat primarily in transition (not necessarily counter-attacking)? It’s evident that Palace are a far more dangerous team when playing passes into space and wreaking havoc running at backpedalling defences, particularly in the case of Zaha and Olise.
When they face teams who show them more respect and defend with a lower block, they’re finding it difficult to break them down and in turn, they’re forced to either commit too many men forward to supplement the attack to create overloads and make the breakthrough, or it’s too sterile and mostly efforts from distance and half chances in the area. Palace have to find a way to draw West Ham out without risking giving the ball away in dangerous areas against the likes of Paqueta, Bowen and Benrahma.
West Ham Will Keep Doing What They’re Doing
When West Ham defeated Fulham 1-0 away from home, there was significant dissent from West Ham supporters despite the result. We’re not in any position to tell those supporters that they are wrong, necessarily – following a Premier League team can prove to be extremely expensive, and fans feel as though they have a right to be entertained. Nonetheless, football is, first and foremost, a sport. West Ham conceded five to Newcastle at home in the preceding fixture, and with games running out David Moyes felt a more defensive outlook was in order.
To follow that up with a rather unexpected point at at home to Arsenal from 2-0 down, and to score four without reply at the Vitality Stadium against Bournemouth will leave the Scot feeling vindicated – in the short term at least. Palace were having an excellent run under Roy Hodgson, against three teams in Leicester, Leeds and Southampton who, in our opinion, can all be far too open for their own good.
It’s not that we wish the Premier League to become a hierarchy of teams who play expansive football and those who don’t dare to, it’s more about ensuring that you have the right playing resources to do so. West Ham are better served in playing more directly in attack (not necessarily long ball), and it’s not because they’re inferior in attack. Rather, they defend better in numbers and they can construct fluid counterattacks with precision when they’re on song.
The betting odds suggest this will be a well-balanced game, and we’re also of that opinion. However, we’re thinking that this match suits West Ham more than it does Crystal Palace. When it comes to teams in the bottom half (and much of the top half on a good day at least), Palace are set up to punish teams who overplay.
The issue for them here is that David Moyes and his staff have effectively doubled down on their fluid counter-attacking strategy and recently it has been paying dividends. Palace played reasonably well against Wolves in the main, but couldn’t break them down. We think they’ll score here with home advantage and eventually one of their well-struck efforts from outside of the area are bound to find the target, but we’ll back West Ham to edge closer to survival.
Crystal Palace 1-2 West Ham
Crystal Palace vs West Ham Betting Tip – West Ham Odds:
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