Palace 2-2 West Ham
A last-gasp Wilfried Zaha equaliser saw Crystal Palace rescue a point against London rivals West Ham at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon. The Hammers, with manager Slaven Bilic fighting for his job, raced into a 0-2 lead, but a second-half comeback from Roy Hodgson’s men dented the Croatian’s hopes of continuing in his role.
The opening half an hour was an even affair before the game turned on its head. Zaha was felled in the penalty area only for referee Bobby Madley to say that “there was contact, but not enough contact” for a penalty. West Ham went straight up the other end of the field and Hernandez opened the scoring.
The Eagles somehow failed to level minutes later. Former West Ham man James Tomkins saw his header brilliantly saved by Joe Hart and the England number one was up quickly to deny Jeffrey Schlupp from point-blank range, although the goalkeeper’s reaction tells you that he didn’t know too much about it.
Two minutes before the break, Andre Ayew took advantage of a Luka Milivojevic error and made it 0-2 with the visitors' second meaningful attack of the half and it looked like it was going to be another pointless afternoon for Palace.
If Palace were to have any chance of getting a result, there needed to be an immediate reaction after the break and they found one through Andros Townsend. Zaha was released down the right after Mark Noble had given the ball away to Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Wilf slid in Townsend who was stupidly fouled by Ogbonna in the penalty area. Milivojevic redeemed his earlier error, sending Hart the wrong way from the spot.
From then on it was Crystal Palace vs Joe Hart and the frame of the West Ham goal. The woodwork denied Yohan Cabaye and Tomkins and Hart denied a host of Palace players and the Head and Shoulders man looked to have carried his team to a first away win of the season. Michael Antonio had other ideas.
The man that West Ham fans consider to be better than Zaha, raced away down the right flank with just seconds remaining on the clock and the entire stadium assumed that he would hold the ball in the corner until the full-time whistle. Instead, he put in an awful cross that Tomkins could chest back to Julian Speroni. Twenty-two seconds later, Zaha found the back of the net to send Selhurst Park wild and secure a valuable point for Palace.
A game of two halves
Being two-nil down at half-time was a travesty based on the performances of the two teams, but the difference between Palace in each half was stark. West Ham were equally bad in each period. How shit they are is encouraging as we certainly have a chance of finishing above them based on what I saw in this one. Much like us, they are suffering from a crisis of confidence. Once they got the goal, they grew in confidence. As soon as they conceded, they fell apart. Long may this continue.
What encouraged me, and I would love to have been a fly on the wall in the changing room at half-time, is that we came out in the second half and looked determined and refused to accept that we had already lost. We showed character and we will need this by the truckload if we want to get out of this mess.
We created enough chances to win two games in the second half and were unlucky that we came up against a world-class goalkeeper. His world-class games are far fewer than they used to be, but there was no denying that he was incredible at Selhurst on Saturday. That being said, I have no doubt that a striker would have had a hat-full, be that Connor Wickham or Christian Benteke.
In order to avoid being too kind to Joe Hart, watching him nearly cry in his post-match interview was hilarious.
The Wilfried Zaha Show
I have so many points to make about Zaha, it is hard to know where to start!
First, the fact that he wasn’t awarded a penalty and Townsend was, goes to show what reputation can do to a player. Wilf said that the referee said that there was contact, but not enough for a penalty. Jose Fonte was so far away from the ball it was laughable and he has kicked and then pushed Zaha to the ground. At the other end, Townsend feels contact, throws himself to the floor and Madley points straight to the spot. Maybe the referee saw the mistake he made at half-time and felt that he had to put it right, but, apparently, they don’t do this. Either way, I thought Madley was appalling and is filling the void that Clattenburg left for Palace fans.
Second, taking Wilf off at Newcastle now looks even more ridiculous. He has the x-factor and can conjure something out of nothing – even seven minutes into stoppage time. I am sure that this is a mistake that Hodgson will not make again in a hurry.
Third, the West Ham fans opinion that Antonio is better than Zaha took an almighty knock. David Ginola was hung out to dry by the French National team back in the day for doing exactly what Antonio did. With Schlupp half-heartedly tracking back and only seconds left, crossing the ball has to be up there with one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen a footballer do – and that includes Neil Ruddock fly kicking Marcus Bent.
The way that the visiting supporters set themselves up for a fall with Zaha was nothing short of incredible. Singing “Zaha, you’re a C**t” and “Too shit for England” only for him to then grab the equaliser was beautiful. The fact that they also chanted, “Tomkins, give us a wave” only to be ignored put the icing on the cake. When Zaha played against us for Cardiff, when we sang Zaha’s name, he obliged with a round of applause and a wave. Tomkins just thinks you’re all…
Finally, the goal came 7 minutes into stoppage time. That amount of stoppage time was played because West Ham players feigned injury after injury and wasted time with general shithousery. They brought it all on themselves and it was perfect that Zaha added the finishing touch.
To see West Ham fans getting their comeuppance in full video glory, watch below:
I have a feeling that this kid is going to infuriate me as the season goes on. His talent is undoubted, but he needs to up his effort if he wants to fully win us over and, more importantly for him, become the elite level player that is hidden within him.
Mourinho has already questioned his work ethic and I think that most Palace fans will be able to see where the now United manager was coming from.
Just run more, lad. It really is the easiest part of football.
Mark Noble vs Yohan Cabaye
There is no doubting that Cabaye must be a horrible little bastard. The Shelvey incident last week and countless other players down the years getting into it with him proves this. But the hypocrisy of Noble’s justification for his behaviour was hilarious. Noble said:
“I’ve always thought you can have 90 minutes of a battle, you can kick sh*t out of each other really, but you always shake hands with each other after. That’s my point of view.
“It was his attitude. I didn’t really like his attitude. That’s why I had something to say.
“If I’m honest I wasn’t happy how he went about things and as I’ve said you battle with many players over the years but afterwards you always look each other in the eye and shake hands.”
So, because Cabaye doesn’t see it the way you do, Mark, your go-to response is to try and “do him”? You let him win. He wound you up and you took the bait, just like Fosu-Mensah took the ball from you just before we scored our first goal.
Man of the Match: Yohan Cabaye
Sticking with the Frenchman, it was another sterling Selhurst Park display from the midfielder.
- 7 Tackles
- 3 Interceptions
- 86% Pass Accuracy
- 3 Key Passes
- 1 Post Hit
He was like a terrier in the middle of the park and wound Noble up to boot. Top stuff.
Obviously, Wilfried gets an honourable mention, as does Andros. Townsend’s energy was key to us staying in the game when we looked beat and his effort won the penalty that got us back in the game.
Up Next: Spurs
Well, this all depends on whether Harry Kane is fit or not. That being said, Llorente loves a goal against us, so who knows.
Come on you Palace!