In the 25th round of matches of the 2017/2018 Premier League season, David Moyes’ West Ham United play host to Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace in a battle of two teams lurking just above danger in the bottom half, but both in the top ten of the Form Table, a thorough six-pointer.
The Hammers go into the affair off the back of a disappointing Emirates FA Cup Fourth-Round exit at the hands of League One Wigan Athletic, while the Eagles also tasted defeat in their last outing, a 4-1 thrashing by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, the hosts are the slight favourites for this one.
The encounter is scheduled to take place tonight (Tuesday 30 January 2018), with a kick-off time of 7:45 PM GMT and no live Television coverage being broadcasted in the United Kingdom.
However, if you’re in the Capital tonight, you can catch live Radio commentary on BBC Radio London, or alternatively, you can stay right where you are for a Live Blog, featuring live and exclusive build-up, text commentary and reaction, live from the London Stadium Press Box, starting at 5:45 PM GMT.
The visit of Hodgson’s Palace will take place at the club’s London Stadium, with a capacity of 57,000 and the option to go high into the 70,000s it is one of the most spectacular arenas in English Football.
Originally opening in 2012 for the London Olympics, the Ground’s footballing existence has been somewhat marred by violence and crowd unrest, not to mention supporter’s attitudes towards it.
This was catalysed early in this season when the first-team stars, then under Slaven Bilic, were forced to play the first four games of the season away from home due to Stratford hosting the World Athletics Championships.
But, the Stadium is slowly starting to feel more like home for the Claret & Blue Army, and today will be only the second time that the team from South London have visited Stratford, losing out to strikes from Sofiane Feghouli, an Andy Carroll overhead kick and a Manuel Lanzini chip, West Ham’s biggest win in E20 to date.
Hammers Boss Moyes confirmed in his Pre-Crystal Palace Press Conference at Rush Green yesterday, which MooreThanJustAClub were fortunate enough to be in, that his list of 13 players either injured or suspended is beginning to depreciate.
Fresh additions to that list at the weekend were seriously injured midfielder Pedro Obiang and Arthur Masuaku, who has acquired a six-game ban for spitting, though the good news is that Skipper Mark Noble, defenders Declan Rice, Jose Fonte and Cheikhou Kouyate and Michail Antonio up-field could return to the Squad, with new signing Joao Mario in line for a first start.
Meanwhile, Eagles Manager Hodgson has been dealt a triple injury boost ahead of the fixture, as confirmed in is own Press Conference, Mamadou Sakho, Joel Ward and Yohan Cabaye are all back from injury.
However, the dangerous duo of Jeff Schlupp and England man Ruben Loftus-Cheek are still sidelined, while new signings Erdal Rakip and Jaroslaw Jach are not ready to figure, ex-Hammer James Tomkins will be looking forward to returning to his former club in defence.
The teams of West Ham United and Crystal Palace have faced off an impressive 55 times in Competitive Football, a London rivalry that dates back all the way to the year 1906.
The East Londoners have the slight edge on the overall record which will delight the Claret & Blue Army with 22 triumphs to Palace’s 14 victories, they are also unbeaten in the last five playing’s of this fixture, a run that stretches back three years.
There have been 19 draws in this encounter over the years, only two in the previously 12, this particular encounter has also become known for throwing up plenty of goals in times more recent, there have been no fewer than 16 across the five most recent matches.
The last time that the pairing did battle, coming just a few months ago in October 2017, they played put a 2-2 thriller at Selhurst Park, Nigerian winger Wilfried Zaha rescuing Hodgson’s men in the 97th minute after notches from Javier Hernandez and Andre Ayew and one pulled back from Luka Milivojevic from the penalty spot.
Crystal Palace Football Club was formed in September 1905, a staggering 112 years ago from a previous club, also named Crystal Palace, that had existed as early as 1865, by those who wanted a team to play at the new home of the FA Cup Final, the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.
Since then, the club have enjoyed limited success, playing second fiddle to some of the bigger London clubs, having never won an FA Cup or League Cup, only titles of lower Divisions and the 1991 Full Members Cup, although featuring in the Final of Football’s oldest Competition twice.
Their most successful period came in the early 1990s when they recorded their highest ever English Top-Flight League finish of third place, mere months before the formation of the Premier League, their most recent Promotion to it coming in 2012, where they’ve remained since.
Nowadays, under former Three Lions Manager Hodgson, the Glaziers have enjoyed a turnaround in fortunes in 2017/2018, having lost their first seven League games to sit rock bottom, they are now 12th in the Division and with a strong chance of remaining afloat in the Top-Flight, losing only two of their last 13 matches.
Who Is Officiating?
Experienced Select Group Referee Neil Swarbrick will be the man in the middle in East London this evening, with Adrian Holmes and Marc Perry acting as his two Assistants, and fellow Referee Andre Marriner with the board as Fourth Official.
So, now that the London Stadium scene has been well and truly set for an exciting night of League action under the lights, can Moyes’ Irons maintain their unbeaten League run of five games?
Or, will Hodgson’s Eagles fly in to cause an upset and propel themselves up into the top half? Think you know? Be sure to head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter to cast your early score predictions and join the pre-match discussion.