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Match Previews

The Palace Preview: West Ham United

8 December 2018

Crystal Palace make the short journey to face West Ham United today for a 15.00 kick-off, the two sides poised just six points apart in the Premier League table.

Whilst this London derby isn’t quite regarded in the same, fierce vein as some of the other matches which take place in the capital, it’s still a battle between south and east London and, perhaps more importantly, between 15th and 13th place; the three points on offer becoming all the more significant when they can bridge a gap for Palace.

The Eagles are unbeaten in their past two matches against the Hammers and have only lost once away to them in the past 15 years.

Interestingly, Palace held a very strong record against Saturday's hosts from 2004-14, when, from six games, they won four and drew twice; their best run against the Hammers since 1911.

In more recent years, though, their success has been somewhat sporadic.

Equally sporadic, West Ham have thus far endured a turbulent season, one filled with peaks and throughs and spells of impressive dominance undercut by periods of disappointing results.

The same club who put eight past Macclesfield Town conceded four against both Liverpool and Manchester City, then beat Manchester United but also lost to lower-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The Hammers who will perform today seems uncertain, though they are playing in a purple patch now.

Having lost just one of their past six, it seems that United are enjoying a run of form lately and will provide a difficult game for the Eagles on Saturday. Their most evident strength lies in their ability going forward and they've scored 20 goals so far, the most of any team in the bottom 11.

Helping to continually boost this goal haul is Felipe Anderson, the man to watch when the Hammers maraud forward this season. The Brazilian is their joint-top scorer so far with five goals, four of which have been scored in his past five games.

It’s in defence, though, where Palace have typically found assurance and, until ceding three goals against Brighton and Hove Albion, they had only seen one goal hit their net from their previous three games.

One huge match held very firmly in the minds of Palace fans will be the 2004 play-off final, when the Eagles earned promotion thanks to a single Neil Shipperley goal at the Millennium Stadium. It was a fixture that led to one season in the country’s top-flight, one in which club legend Andy Johnson finished as the league’s second highest scorer on an astonishing 21 goals despite Palace being relegated.

That final in 2004 saw Iain Dowie manage a side with popular names such as Danny Butterfield and Aki Riihilahti in it as well as future icons Dougie Freedman and Shaun Derry.

Team news

Hodgson has the same near-full-strength squad for Saturday's game as he did for the previous match against Brighton and Hove Albion. The only absentee is Christian Benteke.

However, the Hammers will be without Jack Wilshere, Aaron Cresswell and star man Marko Arnautovic though they have been boosted by Andy Carroll's return up top.

Where next?

For the rest of your pre-match reading, why not check out what former Hammer James Tomkins has to say ahead of the game, or even what the boss himself thinks? Alternatively, Neil Shipperley looks back to his 2004 promotion-earning goal while James McArthur discusses versatility in his new role in the Palace squad.

For of all the matchday information you'll want to know ahead of the game, head over to our full matchday guide now, where you'll find the referee, live coverage updates and an interesting matchday stat.

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