9 Points & 9 Goals from 3 Games- Is this actually West Ham? Five Talking points from Crystal Palace game

Even though the pundits had West Ham as firm favourites against Crystal Palace, we, like many fans around us, were not sure of three points! Inconsistency has been such a hallmark of West Ham’s play in recent times- two wins from two games was fantastic, but three from three? Surely not! Palace had been so woeful against Brighton in midweek and were roundly criticised by fans and pundits alike. Roy Hodgson however named the same XI that had done duty against the Seagulls, and one thought they’d be up for this game, wanting to prove a point. Privately we thought a draw would be good enough, and at half time, after McArthur’s goal and Milivojevic hitting the bar with his free kick, most fans would’ve probably taken it. Instead, like they had done against Cardiff, West Ham blew away their opposition in the third quarter. We had suggested post the Cardiff game that Anderson and Snodgrass would be our most creative players in the absence of Arnautovic, and the duo scored fantastic goals that helped the Hammers win 3-2 in front of their biggest league crowd of the season.

Here are some talking points from the game today.

Did Andy Carroll have an impact?

Definitely yes. West Ham started with Lucas Perez and Chicharito upfront, and that combo didn’t seem to offer much on attack together, especially when the Hammers’ first half strategy was to put in cross after cross to Palace’s imposing central defensive pair of Tomkins and Sakho.

Carroll’s introduction allowed West Ham an aerial presence. Even though he didn’t do much with the ball, he always attracted defenders, which provided extra space for the likes of Anderson and Chicharito to operate. The free kick from which West Ham scored their second goal was earned by Carroll.

West Ham starting lineup vs Palace 2018

Is set piece defending an issue?

Does look so unfortunately. Both of the goals conceded against Palace were soft ones, and both came from set pieces. It’s one area Pellegrini will need to focus on.

How good was Declan Rice?

Rice has easily been West Ham’s best midfielder this season, and he turned it up a gear in the second half. Some of his passing (check out the one to Hernandez) and tackling (one on Wan-Bissaka in the first half) was absolutely delightful- probably West Ham’s best player on the afternoon along with Anderson. Was slightly at fault for the first goal- played McArthur offside, but continues to impress with every game.

What does this mean for Lucas Perez?

Things can change quite quickly in the Premier League. Perez was the hero on Wednesday evening, but in his first league start for West Ham, his combination with Hernandez didn’t work out, and recognising that he needed to change things at the interval, Manuel Pellegrini took him off for Carroll.

He may still get games as Carroll’s fitness remains suspect, but today was disappointing.

Felipe Anderson is growing in stature with every game

He struggled to cope with the physical nature of the league when he initially came in, but Felipe Anderson has grown in stature with every game and is now West Ham’s top scorer this season. Was shackled a bit in the first half with Wan-Bissaka and McArthur doubling on him, but there was no doubt that West Ham’s players saw him as their best creative outlet. Was given a bit of space by Wan-Bissaka for his goal, and he showed his quality with a fabulous hit!

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