ON THE evidence of the past two performances at the London Stadium, West Ham appear set on securing their Premier League survival one point at a time.
The 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace on Tuesday night was the second home game in a row that David Moyes’s team had come back after going behind, only to go on and grind out a draw. Indeed, there were many similarities between this and the previous game against Bournemouth.
Moyes thought his team “did well with what we had available,” dealing well with the threat of the Palace strikers.
The manager was full of praise for captain Mark Noble, who he thinks is “getting better with age.”
“He sets the standard. Long may it continue,” said Moyes.
There was also praise for new loanee recruit from Inter Milan Joao Mario, who made an impressive debut in claret and blue.
“He did really well tonight, a really good debut for someone who has just come in from Portugal,” said Moyes
Less popular with the manager was striker Michail Antonio, who would have been on the bench for the match had he not been disciplined for being late for a meeting earlier in the day.
Moyes once again showed a remarkable ability to get the best out of what was available to him in terms of players. Despite rumours about who is going and who staying in the transfer window, as well as an injury crisis that has ravaged his squad, Moyes managed to put out a compact side that defended in numbers and often broke dangerously to effect.
West Ham did though look like the away team for much of the 90 minutes, as the manager fielded six defenders and two defensive midfield players.
It was Palace who took the lead in the 23rd minute, when Andros Townsend broke down the right to cross for Christian Benteke, who got in front of James Collins to head past Adrian.
West Ham pushed on, but it took another 18 minutes before they drew level. The impressive Cheikhou Kouyate setting Javier Hernandez away. He exchanged passes with Mario, only to then be upended in the penalty area by James Tomkins. Noble duly converted the penalty kick.
Palace continued to threaten, with Townsend forcing a good save out of Adrian at full stretch. West Ham’s best chance of another goal came in the second half, when Hernandez met a cross but put his header straight at Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey.
Palace manager Roy Hodgson seemed relieved at getting the point, though admittedly the loss of striker Bakary Sako with a serious looking injury tempered his joy.
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