From the Terraces



Fan blogger Joe Difford looks back at a return to winning ways…
The last couple of months since we beat Bournemouth at the London Stadium have felt like an eternity. Since we picked up those first three points of the season, we have had to endure more unfortunate injuries, frustrating results and poorly timed international breaks.
But on Saturday at Selhurst Park, just as we did last year, Slaven Bilic’s men walked away with all three points after showing glimpses of the elusive ‘West Ham Way’.
With a couple of enforced changes resulting in a back three, Cheikhou Kouyate dropping deep, and the return of Aaron Cresswell as a left wing back, Palace appeared a little unprepared for the way we approached the game.
Our left back, who has missed most of the season through injury, was back to his fantastic self, running down the line and linking up with Dimitri Payet, who was able to drift into a more central role, subsequently.
The only goal of the game came from some brilliant build-up play in midfield, before the phenomenal Pedro Obiang sprayed the ball out wide to Cresswell, who exchanged passes with Payet before whipping in a perfect low cross for Manuel Lanzini to turn home.
It was Lanzini’s sixth goal away from home in a Hammers’ shirt and you could see how much it meant to the boys as they all ran over to celebrate in the torrential rain.
Obiang was the stand-out performer, but many impressed, with Simone Zaza excellent in the air and at closing down the defenders, and Winston Reid back to his best with a vast array of blocks and challenges.
Angelo Ogbonna was unlucky when he conceded a penalty, going to clear the ball before Benteke ran in and got in front of the defender’s already swinging leg. But it didn’t matter, because the Belgian forward smashed his spot kick into the stands, much to the away fans’ relief.
There was a little controversy as the game entered the final knockings, as Aaron Cresswell was clearly brought down in the Palace penalty area, but got booked for simulation. Mere seconds later, he was shown a second yellow card for a ‘foul’ on Wilfried Zaha, although replays showed the winger to go down a tad too easily for a yellow, especially a second one.
Unfortunately for Bilic he cannot appeal the wrong decision, but Adrian made sure that the Hammers left in good spirits, saving a point-blank header from Connor Wickham to deny Palace a point.
There is a long way to go, but Saturday’s win will hopefully be the turning point in our season, and if we perform just as well this weekend, we should take three points off Sunderland.
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