Fan blogger Joe Difford looks ahead to Saturday's game against Crystal Palace...
Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace will by no means be an easy affair, but with a five game unbeaten run to maintain and the league’s best away form to continue, West Ham will give it their all.
Last time out, Dimitri Payet rescued a point away to Sunderland, but since then, the team will have been able to rest through the international break, with a number of players ready to return from injury.
The Hammers played in a behind-closed-doors friendly last week, with Andy Carroll shaking off an ankle knock and scoring his first goal of the season. Enner Valencia also featured as his recovery continues ahead of schedule and Angelo Ogbonna and Alex Song have been back training all week.
Crystal Palace have arguably been the most impressive side of 2015, with Alan Pardew coming in and revitalising the side, who have picked up all three points in their last two Premier League games.
One of the biggest social media debates has been ongoing since the summer and it concerns West Ham’s Dimitri Payet and Palace’s Yohan Cabaye.
With Cabaye initially rumoured to be moving to east London, before opting for Pardew’s side, the Irons brought in Payet and the rest is history.
Both players have been instrumental in their side’s successes so far this season, and you can bet the winning side on Saturday will have their key man to thank.
If Mark Noble and co. are to stop Cabaye influencing the game, not only will they have to close him down quickly, but they’ll also have to be alert to the likes of Yannick Bolasie and Dwight Gayle making runs in behind, as the Frenchman can pick a pass as well as anyone else in the league.
It remains to be seen how the Eagles will deal with Payet, as so far, no side has been able to silence the magician, as he dances through the defences for fun.
Crystal Palace face Leicester and Manchester City after us and we host champions Chelsea, so three points will be huge for both sides on Saturday.
Adrian will almost certainly start this weekend, but it is good to see the back-up players impressing on international duty, as Darren Randolph kept a clean sheet and got the assist as his Ireland side beat Germany to keep their hopes of qualifying for the Euros alive.
The way our men have been performing so far this season, it wouldn’t be a surprise if a large percentage of them are representing their countries in France next summer, with Aaron Cresswell, Dimitri Payet, Adrian and Andy Carroll all potential picks for their respective managers.
It is incredibly difficult to call Saturday’s game at Palace, as both sides have enjoyed a good start to the season and both have almost full-strength squads at their disposal.
Whichever side walks away with all three points, however, will likely have their star man to thank and perhaps a little luck.
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The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of West Ham United