West Ham had two representatives in Garth Crooks’ team of the week for Round 8, with both Winston Reid and Aaron Cresswell making it to the BBC analyst’s XI.
While Crooks blasts Martin Atkinson for his controversial decision to send Cresswell off, he also complains about the “lack of atmosphere” at the Olympic Stadium, comparing it to “watching football in the middle of the Nevada Desert”
Garth Crooks team of the week: Stekelenburg, Williams, Reid, Luiz, Cresswell, Kante, Allen, Moses, Walcott, Lukaku, Stanislas
Crooks on Cresswell and Atkinson
Boy have West Ham missed Cresswell, who was making his first appearance since returning from an injury suffered in pre-season. His ball for team-mate Manuel Lanzini to score was of the highest quality and further indication of what he can produce.
However, what then followed was a travesty. Referee Atkinson made two of the worst decisions I have seen in a long time.
His first error was the yellow card given to Cresswell for diving when the full-back was clearly tripped in the box. Atkinson then went on to compound the mistake 51 seconds later by giving Cresswell a second yellow for putting an arm across Wilfried Zaha, even though the defender was legitimately making life difficult for the Palace winger.
What was Cresswell supposed to do? Give Zaha directions? Atkinson owes Cresswell a public apology for the first caution and should have the decency to rescind the booking for diving when the player clearly did not.
Crooks on Reid
West Ham, who before this weekend were in the bottom three, needed the three points they earned against Crystal Palace and they defended well enough with 10 men to secure them. Admittedly, they needed a little luck and the penalty miss by Benteke was karma for an earlier miscarriage of justice on Aaron Cresswell by referee Martin Atkinson.
Nevertheless, Reid’s performance for the Hammers deserves to be singled out. West Ham were another team who played three central defenders and Reid was the lynchpin that kept them together.
West Ham might have got away with this result, but if they are going to survive in the Premier League they must sort out their performances in their new state-of-the-art stadium, which dreadfully lacks atmosphere. I feel like I am watching a football match in the middle of the Nevada desert!