Saturday, March 25, 2023

Swag Regained: 3 Things West Ham Got Spot On In Their Win Over Crystal Palace

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Snehanjan Banerjee
Snehanjan used to a former columnist at The 4th Official. Fan of KK, Cricket and Liverpool (in no particular order).

West Ham United climbed up out of the danger zone with a 0-1 win against Crystal Palace on Saturday. Manuel Lanzini scored the winner for the Hammers on the brink of the 19th minute and the Hammers could hold onto the lead successfully. The game did not lack any kind of drama as in-form Christian Benteke missed the chance to equalise from the spot. The Belgian missed two easy chances to score apart from the wayward penalty and has to take the blame for the loss.

The game was pretty much an exhibition for woeful finishing as both sides failed to take most of their chances. Here are three things Slaven Bilić got right against Crystal Palace to get this vital win which eases some pressure off him.

Playing three at the back

The key reason for West Ham performing so poor this season is the defensive crisis they had to go through. In their last five Premier League games, West Ham conceded a total of 15 goals which leaves a lot to be desired. West Ham had big ambitions this season and a solid defence is needed first and foremost in order to achieve to those.

Bilić had to ensure he could improve his side’s defending and came up with the solution which was playing three at the back. Reid, Ogbonna and Kouyate lined up as the three central defenders and Aaron Cresswell and Michail Antonio lined up as the two wing-backs.


Deploying a natural striker up front

With Andy Carroll out injured, none of the centre-forwards at the London Olympic Stadium have been able to deliver so far this season. Simone Zaza, Jonathan Calleri and Ashley Fletcher all were brought in this summer by the Hammers and all have disappointed. However, Bilić still kept faith in Zaza and started the game with the Italian up front.

The Juventus loanee made his presence felt even though he did not make it to the scoresheet. The Italian had three shots during the course of the game and was a threat courtesy to his hold up play and movement getting an impressive Whoscored rating of 7.60.

Exploiting Crystal Palace from the left

The first choice left back at Crystal Palace, Pape Souare, is a long-term absentee after hurting himself in a car crash earlier this season and West Ham exploited them from the right side. Martin Kelly failed to provide protection to the Eagles and was withdrawn early for Zeki Fryers who failed to improve the situation. Credit goes to Antonio and Lanzini for doing the damage from the right-hand side as well as Slaven Bilić who tactically out thought his counterpart.

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