Sunday, April 21, 2019

Crystal Palace 1 West Ham 1: Zaha claims late point

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 9 Feb 2019

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Wilfried Zaha scored a crucial equaliser on his return from suspension as Crystal Palace drew 1-1 with West Ham in the Premier League at Selhurst Park.

West Ham captain Mark Noble’s first goal of the season came via the penalty spot and ensured the visitors held the half-time advantage.

Palace dominated after the break, but just as it looked like a leveller would elude them – James McArthur having missed a glorious chance – Zaha’s heavily deflected effort secured a valuable point.

Roy Hodgson’s men are now unbeaten in four games, while West Ham have failed to win any of their past five matches in all competitions.

In a lively start to the contest, Vicente Guaita saved efforts from Ryan Fredericks and Robert Snodgrass as West Ham threatened on the counter-attack, while Lukasz Fabianski denied McArthur at the other end.

It was the visitors who struck first, Noble sending Guaita the wrong way with a 27th-minute spot-kick after the goalkeeper clattered into Michail Antonio in the penalty area.

Fabianski was at full stretch to keep out Christian Benteke soon after, and the hosts went into the break behind.

McArthur somehow failed to convert a glorious Palace chance eight minutes after the restart, hitting the post from five yards after beating the offside trap in one of the misses of the season.

Patrick van Aanholt, who created that chance, sent a superb volley just over prior to the introduction of Michy Batshuayi from the bench, the striker replacing Benteke after an hour.

Batshuayi fired off target from another glorious Palace chance created by Van Aanholt, but the equaliser finally came 14 minutes from time.

A fortunate one-two between Zaha and McArthur led to the forward’s shot from six yards taking a massive deflection off Issa Diop to beat Fabianski at his near post.

Fabianksi then made two late saves from Zaha to deny Palace a memorable victory.

 

What does it mean? Palace still lack cutting edge

Palace slipped to within three points of the bottom three, while West Ham crept up to 10th position, though the late leveller meant Manuel Pellegrini’s men missed the chance to move above Everton.

The Eagles are still struggling for goals, having scored 27 in 26 league games and seeing numerous chances go begging in a game they really should have won.

In total, they had 25 attempts at goal to West Ham’s six and Zaha, who was only playing due to his right to appeal the additional game ban given to him for his red card against Southampton, needed a deflection to ensure they at least claimed a point.

Van Aanholt a force to be reckoned with

Despite Palace’s struggle for goals, none of the blame can go to attacking full-back Van Aanholt, who created a game-high five chances for his team-mates.

Grumbles over Guiata

Guaita has generally impressed since replacing Wayne Hennessey as Palace’s number one, but his foolish decision to run into Antonio for the penalty incident was costly, giving West Ham a golden chance for the lead in a game where they were second best.

What’s next?

Palace are away to Doncaster Rovers of League One in the FA Cup fifth round next Sunday, while, having been knocked out of that competition, West Ham do not play again until a key home top-flight game with struggling Fulham on February 22.

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