Crystal Palace 2-3 West Ham United
Premier League, Selhurst Park, Saturday 1 January 2020
West Ham United enjoyed a happy start to 2022 with a 3-2 Premier League victory at Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day - with Manuel Lanzini again the Eagles' nemesis.
David Moyes’ Hammers made it back-to-back top-flight wins courtesy of three first-half goals at Selhurst Park – the seventh time in 20 Premier League matches this season we have scored three or more goals in a game – to close to within a point of the top four.
A high-paced, end-to-end game was settled by a close-range finish from Michail Antonio and two strikes from Lanzini, the first an unstoppable left-foot special from 20 yards and the second a right-foot penalty awarded after Luka Milivojević was penalised for handball.
In truth, the three-goal half-time lead flattered West Ham a little, despite Antonio and Saïd Benrahma being denied by a superb double save from Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita when the game was still goalless, as the Eagles created and missed a succession of presentable chances of their own.
Jeffrey Schlupp hit the post within a minute from Christian Benteke’s cut-back, then saw his eighth-minute shot blocked by Ben Johnson, with Milivojević curling a free-kick over the crossbar in between.
West Ham belatedly awoke from their New Year lie-in and went close four times in quick succession – Coufal firing a half-volley over, Guaita saving from Antonio’s close-range shot and Benrahma’s follow-up header, then Benrahma heading wide – before finally taking the lead on 23 minutes.
Johnson got forward well down the left and fed Benrahma, and the Algerian’s inswinging cross led Antonio to run in behind Marc Guéhi and poke home with the studs on his right boot.
Two minutes later it was 2-0 – and in some style. Declan Rice – becoming the youngest Hammer to make 150 Premier League appearances – drove forward before squaring for Lanzini 20 yards out. The Argentinian’s first touch took him away from Joachim Andersen and his second lashed the ball into the net via the underside of the crossbar.
Palace rallied and will feel they should have pulled at least one goal back in the period before Lanzini scored his second from the spot.
Odsonne Édouard rattled the woodwork with a rising shot from Jordan Ayew’s cutback, then Benteke saw his low shot saved by Łukasz Fabiański’s right boot. And the Pole denied the Belgian again as half-time approached, holding his snap-shot securely.
Having missed that hat-trick of opportunities, Palace were punished in bizarre circumstances as Milivojević needlessly handled Bowen’s header and referee Darren England – a late replacement for Michael Oliver and officiating West Ham’s second game in succession – awarded a penalty after being called to the pitchside screen by VAR Chris Kavanagh. After a long delay, Lanzini stepped up and fired unerringly into the bottom left-hand corner.
Despite being outshot 12-8 and enjoying just 40% possession, West Ham went in 3-0 up at the break.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the pace of the game slackened after half-time, with Moyes’ men seeking to professionally manage their sizeable advantage, while Patrick Vieira’s Eagles flung more and more players forward and introduced striker Jean-Philippe Mateta and winger Michael Olise in pursuit of an unlikely comeback.
The intensity may have dropped, but the chances continued to come at both ends, and Palace finally took two of them to give the final score a more accurate reflection of the game as a whole.
For the hosts, Coufal blocked Tyrick Mitchell’s shot wide, Édouard could not wrap his foot around Ayew’s inviting cross and then fired the dropping ball wide from 18 yards, while Benrahma prodded over and Antonio fired acrobatically and narrowly past the post for the visitors.
Vieira’s side finished strongly, as you would expect, with Mateta heading wide and Ayew seeing a well-struck shot blocked behind by Diop, before Édouard pulled a goal back from substitute Olise’s right-wing cross with seven minutes to play.
And the former Reading youngster set Claret and Blue nerves jangling when his free-kick curled straight into the net in the final minute of the 90, but the Irons held on for the four minutes of added time, despite Mateta sending a late overhead kick a yard wide with seconds remaining.
Ultimately, it is Lanzini, who took his personal tally to six goals in ten games against Crystal Palace, who will make the headlines as West Ham collected a sixth Premier League away win of the season.
West Ham United: Fabiański, Coufal, Dawson, Diop, Johnson (Masuaku 46), Rice ©, Souček, Bowen, Lanzini (Noble 89), Benrahma (Vlašić 71), Antonio
Subs not used: Areola (GK), Fredericks, Alese, Král, Okoflex, Yarmolenko
Goals: Antonio 23, Lanzini 25, 45+5 (pen)
Booked: Johnson, Masuaku
Crystal Palace: Guaita, Ward, Guéhi, Andersen, Mitchell, Milivojević © (Mateta 60), Hughes (Riedewald 75), Schlupp, Ayew, Édouard, Benteke (Olise 68)
Subs not used: Butland (GK), Matthews (GK), Tomkins, Kelly, Eze
Goals: Édouard 83, Olise 90
Referee: Darren England