Antonio

Last Word: Antonio on Crystal Palace

Michail Antonio wants West Ham United to conclude the first half of the 2022/23 season in a positive fashion when the Irons face Crystal Palace in their penultimate Premier League fixture before the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

David Moyes’ men will be buoyed by a sixth straight win in UEFA Europa Conference League Group B – as a 3-0 triumph at FCSB on Thursday night ensured the Irons became the first side to progress from the UECL group stage with a 100% record.

Now, on Sunday afternoon, Antonio and company will face Crystal Palace, before a Carabao Cup fixture against Blackburn Rovers on the following Wednesday, and then a rare Saturday 3pm kick-off against Leicester City to finish the first half of the 2022/23 season.

With three games to play ahead of the break for the World Cup in Qatar, the Hammers No9 wants the Irons to continue the momentum by recording a fourth straight home win as Palace head to east London.

“It is definitely important to finish on a high,” stated Antonio, whose goal – alongside a Manuel Lanzini brace – secured a 3-2 win in last meeting between the two sides in January 2022. “We have started picking up [points] and playing well. From the performances, you can see we are starting to gel together. But we want to finish on a high and hopefully, we do that.”

Antonio

Of course, Antonio is under no illusion as to the task West Ham will face at London Stadium, although the Hammers No9 is confident having recorded 11 goal contributions in 11 fixtures against Palace across his career – including a hat-trick of assists in 3-0 win at London Stadium in 2017.

“[Crystal Palace] have been playing some free-flowing football under Patrick Vieira,” he added, on Sunday’s opponents. “He has got them ticking. They have got some quality players [such as] Wilfried Zaha. They are a team to be worried about, but hopefully, we get the three points.

“Our start to the season was not the best but now we have started to pick it up and play well. Even if we haven’t got the points at Liverpool and Manchester United, the performance has showed how well we can play. We are optimistic for the season and hopefully, we can move up the league [with two wins from our final two league games].”

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