West Ham performed well against Crystal Palace at the weekend in the first half, taking a deserved lead through Mark Noble’s sweetly struck effort from the spot. Manuel Pellegrini’s men caused the Eagles trouble down the flanks, as Palace’s defence struggled to contain Felipe Anderson in particular.
However, in what was the embodiment of a game of two halves, the Hammers were pinned back for the entirety of the second 45 with ‘keeper Vicente Guaita a mere spectator in goal for Roy Hodgson’s side as Palace dominated.
West Ham seemed lethargic after such an energetic first half, and specifically lacked a composed No.10 to calm things down and link what was a huge gap between defence and attack.
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With both Manuel Lanzini and Samir Nasri out through injury, Pellegrini deployed Robert Snodgrass ahead of Mark Noble and Declan Rice in attacking midfield, but the Scottish international failed to provide a reprieve for his teammates to help them out of Palace’s attacking onslaught.
Well, January arrival Nasri is currently missing with a calf issue, but he should be back for the visit of Fulham – if anything, the performance against Palace should mean he is thrown straight back into the starting line-up and rightly so, even if he is still lacking match sharpness.
The 5 foot 9 Frenchman is an expert at linking the play in an attacking midfield role, showing lovely deft touches to bring his fellow forwards into play and moving opposition defences around.
Lanzini may not yet be fit, which is a shame for the Hammers as he is their key man who knits everything together in the final third. Whilst he remains out, however, the east London-based side must rely on Nasri to pull the strings behind the striker and get close to Javier Hernandez, who was extremely isolated at Selhurst Park.