|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
Manuel Lanzini sparks West Ham into life with win over Crystal Palace
Jacob Steinberg at Selhurst Park
Date Published Saturday 15 October 2016 19.34 BST
In driving rain in south-east London, the 10 men of West Ham United rolled up their sleeves and summoned the kind of resilience that has been so conspicuous by its absence until now. For Slaven Bilic, whose position has been under so much scrutiny in recent weeks, this was the sweetest of victories. He took delight in his side’s slick football in the first half and later in the way they withstood a late storm of pressure from Crystal Palace.
Manuel Lanzini’s early goal secured West Ham’s first league victory since 21 August, ending Palace’s five-match unbeaten run in the process, and lifted them out of the bottom three after a trying few months. They survived Christian Benteke’s comical missed penalty in the first half and demonstrated their strength of character after Aaron Cresswell’s second-half red card.
Desperately searching for a way to spark his ailing team back into life after a dreadful sequence of results, Bilic’s latest idea was a return to the 3-4-2-1 formation that worked to such great effect in the 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in March, a reminder of better times for West Ham. Cheikhou Kouyaté dropped into the back three alongside Angelo Ogbonna and Winston Reid, while Cresswell and Michail Antonio lined up as wing-backs.
It was certainly worth a try given that West Ham had failed to pick up a point from their first three away matches of this season and, with Dimitri Payet and Lanzini elusive and menacing in free roles that allowed to focus on creating rather than defending, there was an early glimpse of the benefits of the new system when Cresswell fired just wide after racing on to a raking pass from Pedro Obiang.
The rejig did have the potential to play into Palace’s hands, bearing in mind the threat posed by Alan Pardew’s side on the flanks. There was a warning for the visitors when Wilfried Zaha escaped Cresswell, who was making his first appearance of the season after returning from a knee injury, and slithered an angled shot past the far post.
Yet all the evidence from the first half indicated that Bilic had outwitted Pardew tactically and the first disgruntled sounds could be heard in the home end in the moments before West Ham took the lead. Unsure of who they were supposed to pick up, Palace stood off and granted Payet far too much space on the left. He found Cresswell, whose foraging on the left was showing why West Ham have suffered so much without him, and Lanzini guided his fizzed low cross into the far corner, having gained a yard on James McArthur.
Palace were making it awkward for themselves, misplacing passes and reacting slowly to loose balls, and there were precious few opportunities for either Zaha or Andros Townsend to attack West Ham in the wide areas, lowering the quality of the service towards Benteke.
Their struggles throughout the opening half were encapsulated by Benteke’s woeful penalty on the stroke of half-time. Tripped by Ogbonna – replays suggested that the foul occurred outside the area – Benteke spooned his effort high and wide despite sending Adrián the wrong way.
A header from Benteke grazed the right post moments later but Pardew was not fooled by that brief resurgence, bringing on Zeki Fryers and Yohan Cabaye for Martin Kelly and Joe Ledley. The hope for Palace was that Cabaye would get his foot on the ball and help them dictate play. Palace continued to huff and puff, however, rarely threatening to trouble Adrián. Instead West Ham, looking to settle their nerves, continued to push for a second goal, which almost arrived when Lanzini linked well with Simone Zaza before bursting clear of Palace’s back four. Forced wide by a heavy touch, he teed up Payet, who was unable to beat Mandanda.
That crucial intervention from Palace’s goalkeeper felt like it could be a defining moment. Still within touching distance of the visitors, Palace began to play with more aggression and intensity as the volume rose around Selhurst Park, with West Ham showing signs of sitting back to defend their lead.
Nothing was going to come West Ham’s way without a fight and the complexion of the game changed when Cresswell picked up two yellow cards in quick succession, the first for diving in the Palace area, the second for fouling Zaha.
Despite incessant pressure from Palace – Adrián made a stunning save from Connor Wickham in stoppage time – West Ham’s makeshift defence held firm.
Daily Mail: MATCH FACTS, PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE FROM SELHURST PARK
CRYSTAL PALACE(4-2-3-1): Mandanda 6, Ward 5.5, Delaney 5.5, Tomkins 6, Kelly 5.5 (Fryers 45 5.5); McArthur 6 (Wickham 70 5.5), Ledley 5 (Cabaye 45 5.5); Townsend 5.5, Puncheon 6, Zaha 6.5, Benteke 5.5
Subs not used: Hennessey, Campbell, Lee, Wickham, Sako
WEST HAM (3-4-2-1): Adrian 6.5, Reid 7, Kouyate 7, Ogbonna 5.5; Antonio 6, Noble 6.5, Obiang 7, Creswell 7, Lanzini 8 (Nordtveit, 89), Payet 7 (Fernandes, 89), Zaza 6 (Calleri, 87)
Subs not used: Spiegiel, Feghouli, Collins, Fletcher
Goal: Lanzini 19
Bookings: Noble, Cressswell
Red card: Cresswell
Referee: Martin Atkinson