West Ham host Crystal Palace in the late kick-off on Saturday hoping to get back into the top four. The Hammers are flying high in the league and sit in fifth-place after seven games.
But Crystal Palace are also enjoying a decent run of form ahead of their trip to East London. So, here are two reasons for West Ham fans to be optimistic and two reasons to be cautious ahead of this Saturday’s London derby.
Cautious: Fabianski injury
The obvious concern for West Ham fans is the goalkeeper situation. Lukasz Fabianski limped off against Bournemouth and he will be out for two to three months. This is a major worry.
In his place, Roberto will assume the duties between the sticks. The Spanish goalkeeper has failed to impress so far and the jury is out after he conceded four at Oxford United. Palace will target West Ham’s goalkeeper on Saturday.
Cautious: Crystal Palace attack
Ahead of the game, Pellegrini has identified Crystal Palace’s danger zone: the attack. Speaking in his pre-match press conference (via whufc.com), Pellegrini said: “It is not only Wilfried Zaha. They have very good players up front. Jordan Ayew is having a good season and they have Andros Townsend, and a lot of good players who can make a difference.”
Zaha is well-known in the Premier League and he has scored twice against the Hammers in the last two seasons. Luka Milivojevic is also a threat if Palace get a penalty.
Optimistic: 8 unbeaten against Palace
West Ham have a strong recent record against Crystal Palace – dating back to February 2015. The 3-1 loss in the 2014/15 season was the last time the Irons fell to defeat against Palace.
Since then, there have been eight league meetings between the two sides and West Ham have come out on top. With four wins and four draws, Crystal Palace must see West Ham as a bit of a bogey team. There have also been some wonder goals – such as Andy Carroll’s scissor kick volley or Dimitri Payet’s free-kick.
Optimistic: Lanzini on fire
West Ham have Manuel Lanzini back fit and firing after a substitute cameo against Bournemouth. The Argentina playmaker is the heartbeat of West Ham’s midfield and the danger man this Saturday.
He also has a stunning record against London team – and Crystal Palace in particular. In his five games against the Eagles, Lanzini has scored four and provided one assist. More of the same this Saturday, Manu.