West Ham started 2022 firmly in the top-four race as first-half goals gave them a 3-2 win at Crystal Palace in the Premier League, despite a late rally from the hosts.
With Arsenal losing 2-1 against Man City earlier on New Year’s Day, West Ham are just a point off fourth spot, with struggling Norwich and then Leeds up next at home in the Premier League, but this was anything but simple.
Fresh from their first win in five at Watford in midweek, West Ham scored three unanswered goals in the first half. Michail Antonio opened the scoring, touching Said Benrahma’s wicked delivery home (22), before Manuel Lanzini’s cute touch and deadly finish on the volley from the edge made it 2-0 (25).
Lanzini tucked away a penalty late in the half after Luka Milivojevic handled just inside the box as he went to control the ball unopposed (45+5), a decision which infuriated Palace. But their manager Patrick Vieira, who escorted the officials down the tunnel at the whistle, did admit after the game: “It was a penalty.”
The scoreline at half-time was misleading – Palace struck the woodwork twice and had several chances – but they got the goals they feel their play deserved late on as Odsonne Edouard touched past Lukasz Fabianski from sub Michael Olise’s brilliant cross (83).
Olise’s free-kick cross then found the net through bodies in the box in the 90th minute, and despite a nervy finish as Jean-Philippe Mateta’s overhead kick fell just wide, West Ham held on for three points.
Vieira said after the game on Sky Sports that naivety cost Palace in a game where they were “the better team”, while West Ham boss David Moyes was “thrilled” despite admitting his “didn’t play particularly well.”