|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
Wilfried Zaha finally scores at home to earn Palace draw with West Ham
Dominic Fifield at Selhurst Park
Date Published Sat 9 Feb 2019 17.21 GMT
Wilfried Zaha might not have played in this fixture. It had taken the Crystal Palace forward exercising a right to appeal an additional one-match suspension, incurred for sarcastically applauding the referee after his dismissal at Southampton last month, to allow his inclusion. With that in mind, there was a certain inevitability that he would end up making an impression on this exhilarating contest.
Time was ticking down on Palace’s hopes, with West Ham clinging to a lead secured courtesy of Mark Noble’s penalty from a first half when they had been by far the more assured team, when Zaha’s moment finally came. The Ivorian had become increasingly influential, rendering Ryan Fredericks ever more flustered on the flank, when, 14 minutes from time, he exchanged passes with James McArthur, exploited space near the byline and spat away a shot from a tight angle.
The effort would not have beaten the excellent Lukasz Fabianski had it not flicked up off Issa Diop to loop beyond the goalkeeper, but Palace had probably earned that element of good fortune.
It was Zaha’s first goal at Selhurst Park since the final day of last season and even if he loses his appeal and ends up missing the FA Cup fifth-round tie at Doncaster next Sunday Roy Hodgson may consider that to have been a risk worth taking.
“It would have been a travesty had we not got anything from the game,” said Hodgson, who had made clear his frustration at the referee’s performance as the officials departed after the final whistle.
“But, had we ended up losing 1-0 and played as we did in the second half to the end, I would have told the players in the dressing room that it had been a very good team performance. I can continue to hope this level of performance can get us into the top half of the table.”
They departed wondering quite how they had not forced home what would have been a vital win, given they still hover three points from the bottom three.
The substitute Michy Batshuayi and McArthur had missed glorious opportunities when they had trailed, the latter gliding on to Patrick van Aanholt’s pass to stare down Fabianski. Christian Benteke and the Dutch full-back had both been free to his right unmarked in front of goal, pleading for a pass, but the Scot waited for the goalkeeper to sink to his knees and with the arena hushed in expectation lifted his shot over the Pole but wide of his near post. It was an excruciating miss.
Not that West Ham would have deserved to suffer a fifth consecutive away defeat in all competitions. Their first-half authority had yielded a deserved lead that might have been extended beyond Noble’s penalty, converted after Vicente Guaita had been penalised for clattering Michail Antonio as he leaped to reach Declan Rice’s cleverly clipped pass.
The visitors had carved out the better opportunities up to then, Guaita denying Fredericks and Robert Snodgrass, with Felipe Anderson – his weight of pass immaculate – orchestrating their attacks.
As it transpired, they regretted a failure to chisel out more than a slender advantage and could not rely upon Fabianski’s excellence to maintain their lead. The Pole had denied McArthur and Benteke.
“We retreated to try and keep the lead and that was a mistake,” said Manuel Pellegrini. “Good players with big possession will probably score a goal in the end. They scored a lucky goal, with the deflection, but they deserved it.”
Zaha now boasts goals in his past two games. He may be banned thanks to that improper conduct charge, but he continues to be this team’s inspiration.
Daily Mail: PLAYER RATINGS AND LIVE PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE
PALACE (4-4-2): Guaita 6.5; Wan-Bissaka 7, Kelly 6.5, Sakho 7, Van Aanholt 7.5; Townsend 7, Milivojevic 6, McArthur 6 (Meyer 79), Schlupp 6.5; Benteke 5 (Batshuayi 60, 6), Zaha 6.5
Unused subs: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Ayew, Sako
Goal: Zaha 76
Booked: Wan-Bissaka, Milivojevic, McArthur
WEST HAM (4-2-3-1): Fabianski 7, Fredericks 6.5 (Zabaleta 84), Diop 7, Ogbonna 7, Cresswell 6.5; Noble 7, Rice 7.5; Antonio 6.5 (Obiang 73), Snodgrass 6, Anderson 7; Hernandez 6.5 (Arnautovic 68, 6)
Unused subs: Adrian, Carroll, Masuaku, Diangana
Goal: Noble 27 pen
Referee: Craig Pawson 6
MOM: Van Aanhol