West Ham second-half comeback earns them win over Crystal Palace
PUBLISHED: 17:09 08 December 2018 | UPDATED: 14:01 09 December 2018
PA Wire/PA Images
Anderson strike inspires Hammers but they are left to cling on at the end
West Ham United 3 Crystal Palace 2
In-form, on-fire West Ham United let fly with their third successive three-goal blast in a week to rattle up a hat-trick of straight victories for the first time in two years.
After their trebles against Newcastle United and Cardiff City, Manuel Pellegrini’s men put Palace to the sword as they recovered from an interval deficit to shatter Crystal Palace with a trio of strikes inside 17 scintillating second-half minutes.
James McArthur’s second goal of the season had put Palace ahead with just half-dozen minutes on the clock but Robert Snodgrass drew the Hammers level with his first-ever Premier League goal for the club just after the break.
Javier Hernández then blasted West Ham ahead on the hour with his fifth of the campaign, before Felipe Anderson curled in the goal of the game to go top of the West Ham scoring charts with a half-dozen strikes, midway through the half.
And although substitute Jeffrey Schlupp nodded one back with 15 minutes remaining to set up a potentially edgy finale, the Hammers comfortably held out to secure a wonderful win and make it nine points in a week.
Kicking off in 13th spot – six points and two places above the visitors – the East Enders made a trio of changes from the side that beat Cardiff City 3-1 last time out, as crocked Marko Arnautović (thigh) plus substitutes Michail Antonio and Angelo Ogbonna were replaced by Tuesday evening’s two-goal, Spanish supersub Lucas Pérez, fit-again Fabián Balbuena and Pablo Zabaleta.
Within seconds of the start, Pérez almost unlocked the door for strike-partner Hernández but the alert Wayne Hennessey blocked with his feet to deny Pellegrini’s boys a quick-fire lead and that save proved crucial for Palace, who quickly got their noses in front.
Despite losing at Brighton & Hove Albion on Tuesday night, Roy Hodgson’s side - with just one win from their last nine Premier League outings – were unchanged and, when Snodgrass tugged back Luka Milivojević on six minutes, that starting 11 soon repaid their manager’s faith in them, as Patrick van Aanholt lofted a diagonal left-wing free-kick towards West Ham’s 18-yard line.
With former Hammer James Tomkins outjumping Arthur Masuaku, McArthur pounced on the downward header and prodded a six-yarder past the stranded Lukasz Fabianski, to claim his second goal of the season.
The omens for a West Ham United victory did not look good given the side scoring first in the previous 14 Premier League encounters between these two sides had never gone on to be beaten but today West Ham were destined to re-write that curious statistic at the 15th time of asking.
As the 20-minute mark neared, Pérez drilled a low, angled effort just inches past the far post before then forcing the first corner of the afternoon but as the half wore on, the Claret & Blue fans in an attendance of 56,995 were growing increasingly restless by the sight of raised offside flags, sloppy passing and Palace’s frustrating, frequent attempts to run down the clock.
Declan Rice nodded over ten minutes before the break and, then as the visitors broke forward, Issa Diop was booked for felling the accelerating Andros Townsend on the touchline and, when the young Frenchman clashed with the Palace front man just before the break, Milivojević rocked Fabianski’s left-hand angle with the consequent 20-yard free-kick.
Having seen his side endure a scrappy, incoherent opening 45 minute, Pellegrini introduced Andy Carroll for the restart at the expense of Pérez and the Chilean quickly saw that shuffling of his pack reap a rich reward.
Indeed, within three minutes, the Hammers has drawn level, when Zabaleta’s right-wing cross was headed clear by Mamadou Sakho and, taking a steadying touch, Snodgrass whipped an unstoppable 20-yarder beyond Hennessey and into the net to level in spectacular style.
Zabaleta then saw a low 25-yarder deflected aside for a corner and, after Schlupp replaced the injured van Aanholt, the consequent corner created mayhem in the Palace danger-zone before the ball was finally cleared to safety.
In reply, Fabianski bravely smothered Mx Meyer as the visitors finally forced their way upfield but this was to be the Hammers half.
When Carroll was fouled on 62 minutes, Anderson expertly floated the consequent 18-yard free-kick over the Palace wall and, although Hennessey managed to beat away the dipping ball, Hernández pounced to shoot high into the net to put West Ham ahead to keep up his incredible record of scoring each and every one of his 49 career Premier League goals from inside the penalty area.
Then just three minutes later – with Palace wobbling – the Hammers produced a spectacular goal stamped ‘Made in South America’ as Argentinian Zabaleta squared to Mexican Hernández, who found Anderson on the left-hand edge of the visitors’ area and the Brazilian sent an 18-yarder curling and swerving through the cold Stratford air and under the left-hand angle of the startled Hennessey.
In reply, Schlupp got in front of Carroll to nod Max Meyer’s cross beyond Fabianski from close range with a quarter-hour remaining but that was to prove a mere consolation as the Hammers secured that brilliant hat-trick of victories.
HAMMERS: Fabianski, Zabaleta, Masuaku, Diop, Balbuena, Rice, Noble, Snodgrass, Anderson (Obiang 83), Pérez (Carroll h/t), Hernández (Diangana 74). Unused subs: Adrián, Cresswell, Ogbonna, Antonio.
PALACE: Hennessey, Wan-Bissaka, van Aanholt (Schlupp 55), Tomkins, Sakho, McArthur (Ayew 66), Kouyaté, Milivojević, Meyer (Puncheon 83), Townsend, Zaha. Unused subs: Guaita, Ward, Sørloth, Kelly,
Booked: Diop (38), Zaha (90+1).
Referee: Anthony Taylor