Crystal Palace – West Ham (Premier League)
The Crystal Palace v West Ham United London derby kicks-off week 14. The Eagles have a new manager with a really desperate job, pulling them out of the last place of the table. Sam Allardyce’s team is only slightly better and they will try to maximize their recent success at Craven Cottage, Let’s see how it goes.
This will be the first home fixture for the new manager. Tony Pulis replaced burnt out Ian Halloway admitted there was nothing else he could do for the team. It’s as if the play-off games and promotion to the Premier League have caught the Eagles off-guard and they did not plan the new season properly. Palace sits at the very bottom of the League table with seven points in thirteen matches. They have fail to win in ten of those and have now a 2-1-10 track record. Plus they have the least effective attack of the League, having scored a mere seven goals. Last Saturday Crystal Palace was beaten 1-0 by Norwich, at Carrow Road, even though they made 13 shots on target. Pulis said after he was happy with his new men performances. He now had a little more team to work with his players and some changes are expected. At least in their attitude. And this could be the perfect time to rebound, if Palace can take advantage of the two consecutive home games – West Ham and Cardiff – against squads that share the same objective, to stay afloat in the English Premier League.
Palace’s injury list didn’t help in this poor start. Jack Hunt (ankle), Glenn Murray (knee), Paddy McCarthy (groin), Jerome Thomas (groin) are all long-term absentees. Adlene Guedioura probably won’t be ready to return from his rib injury just yet. For an extra pressure, Tony Pulis can not count with Yannick Bolasie, that was suspended following a red card.
Probable lineup: Speroni – Ward, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey – Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Bannan – Puncheon, Chamakh, Jerome.
Last Saturday West Ham United picked up the three points for a convincing 3-0 win over the Cottagers. Diamé, Carlton and Joe Cole were responsible for a result that was the ultimate drop for Martin Jol at Fulham. But the Hammers have little to celebrate this season. This was just their second home win after the opening game with Cardiff (2-0) in mid August, the third on the the League. They are now 15th, with 13 points from 13 matches, as many as Stoke City and Cardiff. Only three points separate them from drop zone. Sam Allardyce warned that the most recent success would amount to nothing if they do not keep up the pace. At Selhurst Park they can add some score to their board before they go to Anfield and face Liverpool. For West Ham this will be the third London derby in-a-row. They lost the first 0-3 to Chelsea at Stanford Bridge and they triumphed on the second, 3-0 to Fulham. Will the third be a stalemate, 3-3 maybe? Andy Carroll is back in training. Winston Reid (ankle), Mladen Petric (calf), Diarra (ACL) and Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder) are still out. Razvan Rat is in doubt.
Probable lineup: Jaaskelainen – Demel, Tomkins, Collins, McCartney – Noble, Diamé – Downing, Nolan, Joe Cole – Carlton Cole.
The previous five head-to-head meetings between Palace and West Ham happen in the Championship and the scale is tipping slightly to the Eagles’ side: 2 wins, 2 draws and a loss. The last corresponding fixture as Premier League squads was a stalemate, in 1998, Frank Lampard was a West Ham man and scored the first for the Hammers. On Tuesday they will face each other once more, both struggling for the chance to maintain their statute as Premier League teams.