West Ham are in what seems to be a three-way tussle for that final Champions League position. They will look to enhance their chances of a top four finish with a win over cross city rivals Crystal Palace where Alan Pardew returns to Upton Park for the final time (not because he’s getting sacked I mean because West Ham are moving, although I guess you never know do you)
Slaven Bilic will no doubt still be ruing the fact that his side were cost a win at Stamford Bridge before the International Break thanks to a dodgy penalty call in the last minute of the game. Michail Antonio was adjudged to have fouled Ruben Loftus-Cheek. That in itself was a harsh decision and what made it the more galling was the fact that it was outside the box.
West Ham were certainly the better side that day and created most of the chances and although they came away with a draw it would have definitely felt like a defeat. With Manchester City’s defeat 24 hours later they missed the opportunity to go a point clear in 4th but with 7 games to go there is still plenty of Football still to be played.
They go up against a Crystal Palace who need a win from somewhere otherwise if they aren’t careful they could be dragged into a relegation scrap. They haven’t managed to win a Premier League game since winning at Stoke on December 19th and they now find themselves sitting 16th in the table and only 7 points from safety.
Last time out they lost to league leaders Leicester and were unfortunate not to snatch a point after Damien Delaney’s volley hit the bar in the final minute of the game. A frustrating day for Alan Pardew to add to the frustrating 2016 as a whole.
It seems as if it’s only the F.A. Cup run which is papering over the cracks at the moment, the rumblings of “Pardew Out” are now starting to get a little louder and another defeat here at Upton Park certainly won’t silence those
If it weren’t for Palace’s decent form before Christmas then the situation would be a lot worse right now. Once again Pardew is in the midst of a terrible run without a win, it seems after it happened while in charge of Newcastle that lightning is indeed striking twice.
I can’t see that run ended today as West Ham will look to put more pressure on Manchester City and if results go their way could even go into 4th place. While if results go against Palace the buffer to the drop zone will be cut to just 4 points. Home win for me.