A first-half blitzkrieg was enough for West Ham United to see off a late fightback from Crystal Palace and restore their hopes of a top-four finish.

West Ham United put in an excellent first-half display that was ultimately enough for them to see off a spirited Crystal Palace. The Hammers have now given themselves a good chance of challenging for the UEFA Champion League spots.

Selhurst Park is a difficult place to get a result at, and it is a testament to David Moyes’s side that they managed to do just that. Michail Antonio opened the scoring in the 22nd minute to put the visitors ahead. Manuel Lanzini doubled West Ham’s lead in the 25th minute before dispatching a penalty in first-half stoppage time.

The Hammers went into the break with a three-goal lead and looked to wrap up the game quickly. Palace, however, refused to lie down and showed more fight after half-time. Odsonne Edouard diverted in Michael Olise’s cross to get one back for Palace in the 83rd minute. Olise then grabbed one himself in the 90th minute to set up a tense finale for both sides.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, the second goal was too little too late, and West Ham held on for an important three points. The Hard Tackle now takes a look at how David Moyes’s men fared on the night.

Lukasz Fabianski: 6/10

In the first half, the Polish goalkeeper produced an excellent save to deny Christian Benteke. Fabianski would make several more saves throughout the game and was mostly alert when needed. He could have done little to stop Palace’s first goal but should have done better to keep out Michael Olise’s free-kick in the dying minutes.

Vladimir Coufal: 6/10

The Czech defender put in a decent performance that was more solid than spectacular. He was privy to several key blocks and cut off crossing opportunities down his flank. Coufal also impressed at the other end and made a few threatening crosses into the Palace box.

Craig Dawson: 5/10

More often than not, Dawson trumped Christian Benteke in aerial battles. However, the Belgian had the edge in engagements on the ground and had more than one opportunity to score. He made a few vital blocks but did not impress in an overall defensive capacity.

Issa Diop: 4/10

He was at fault for both of Palace’s goals and looked shaky on the night. He lost Odsonne Edouard for the home side’s opener while giving away the needless free-kick that saw Olise score in the 90th minute. Diop has recently been linked with a move to AC Milan, and based on this performance. However, it is safe to say that the Rossoneri can do better.

Ben Johnson: 5/10

Johnson made a few good forays forward but failed in his fundamental job of defending. Benteke had his number all night, and Jordan Ayew also made his life miserable. A booking in the first half saw him get pulled at half-time in favour of Arthur Masuaku, who did little better.

Declan Rice: 7/10

The English international returned to the lineup following his suspension in the last game. The West Ham skipper became the youngest Hammer to make 150 appearances in the Premier League and marked the occasion with a controlled performance.

Rice held his own defensively and drove forward to great effect when needed, grabbing himself an assist for Manuel Lanzini’s first goal. Rice also raised his game the longer it went and is developing into one of the best midfielders in the league.

Tomas Soucek: 6/10

Soucek helped neutralise Palace’s early dominance and made several key blocks on the night. He played a largely withdrawn role and was the perfect foil for Rice in the middle of the park. It was a good controlled performance from the Czech Republic international.

Manuel Lanzini: 7/10

The Argentine international was the difference-maker on the night and took his two clear cut opportunities well. Lanzini showed deft touches to take out Joachim Andersen, Marc Guehi and Vicente Guaita before scoring his sensational first goal. Lanzini was also coolness personified when he buried his penalty with minimal fuss. He appears to be coming into form at just the right moment.

Jarrod Bowen: 5/10

The English winger was surprisingly effective in his defensive contributions rather than going forward. Bowen offered little to no threat to the Crystal Palace defence but covered for Coufal in defence. He has seen better days in the Premier League for sure.

Said Benrahma: 6/10

Benrahma looked up for the game and assisted Antonio’s opener. Unfortunately for West Ham, they will have to part with the in-form Algerian as he is set to fly out for the African Cup of Nations.

Michail Antonio: 6/10

Antonio is an automatic starter for West Ham United when fit, and he showed just why on the night. He finished the opener well and had several other opportunities to score on the night. He also held the ball up well, effectively bringing the others into play.


Arthur Masuaku: 5/10

He was brought on at half-time for Johnson, who was a ticking bomb at that time. He struggled to cope with Ayew and Olise and was largely overwhelmed on the night. The Hammers need to address the left-side of defence in the transfer window.

Nikola Vlasic: 6/10

Vlasic made little to no impact on the game and was largely a passenger.

Mark Noble: N/A

The veteran replaced the impressive Lanzini as the Hammers sought to close the match.

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