The Big Match Tactical View: West Ham v Crystal Palace

Roy Hodgson's Crystal Palace are favourites for this London derby
Roy Hodgson's Crystal Palace are favourites for this London derby
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Michael Cox and Alan Thompson preview this London derby between two injury-hit sides...

"David Moyes’ plans for this contest have been disrupted by a huge injury crisis."

West Ham v Crystal Palace
Tuesday, 19:45

Match Odds: West Ham [3.2], Crystal Palace [2.6], The Draw [3.3].

Moyes' injury headache

Just a point separates West Ham and Crystal Palace, ahead of the Eagles' short trip to the London Stadium for this Tuesday night London derby.

The Hammers have an impressive recent record against Crystal Palace, winning three and drawing two of their last five Premier League meetings. However, David Moyes' plans for this contest have been disrupted by a huge injury crisis.

Moyes is without Jose Fonte, Winston Reid, Edmilson Fernandes, Pedro Obiang, Manuel Lanzini, Marko Arnautovic and Andy Carroll through injury, while Arthur Masuaku is suspended following his weekend dismissal for spitting.

To compound matters, no fewer than four others are considered doubtful - but Mark Noble, Cheickhou Kouyate, Andre Ayew and Michail Antonio may have to play through the pain barrier here, because Moyes is down to the bare bones and simply doesn't have many options across the pitch.

Predicting the Hammers' likely starting XI is therefore somewhat difficult, but it's likely to be the 3-5-2 system that Moyes has generally deployed in recent weeks. Goalkeeper Adrian will probably be protected by James Collins, Angelo Ogbonna and youngster Declan Rice, with Pablo Zabaleta and Aaron Cresswell playing the wing-back roles.

Joao to make his bow

In midfield, things get more complicated. Noble and Kouyate are the type of players who can soldier on despite not being fully fit, and they're likely to be joined by Joao Mario, the Portuguese Euro 2016 winner on loan from Inter Milan. Moyes might have preferred to ease him slowly into Premier League football, but with so many selection problems, Joao Mario will be thrown straight into a London derby.

Upfront, Javier Hernandez will lead the line and presumably be joined by Ayew if fit. If not, Spanish youngster Antonio Martinez, who started in the weekend FA Cup defeat to Wigan, might make his Premier League debut.

Crystal Palace, meanwhile, also have a string of injury worries - Scott Dann and Jason Puncheon are out for the season, Connor Wickham is a long-term absence while Jeffrey Schlupp and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are also unavailable. Mamadou Sakho and Yohan Cabaye have returned to training earlier than expected and might be risked here.

Zaha to lead Palace threat

Hodgson is likely to use a 4-4-2 system with James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho at the back, flanked by Martin Kelly, returning to his customary right-back role after a stint in the middle, and the more attack-minded Patrick van Aanholt.

James McArthur will probably tuck inside from one flank alongside Cabaye and the in-form Luka Milivojevic to battle against West Ham's trio in the middle, which will leave Andros Townsend freer to break forward down the right, battling against Aaron Cresswell.

Palace's main threat is clearly left-sided Wilfried Zaha, however. His pace will cause Zabaleta real problems if he attempts to help Rice double up against the Ivorian winger, and this will be Palace's main route of attack. Christian Benteke has looked livelier in recent weeks but is still enduring a difficult season. Ogbonna and Collins will relish an aerial battle.

With both sides suffering from major injury headaches, I can't imagine this being an open and attractive game. I'll back Under 1.5 goals at [3.3].


The Betfair Trader's View - Alan Thompson

A win here could see David Moyes' side move into the top half of the league but they can’t seem to keep a clean sheet, they have conceded in each of their last six league outings. Despite their troubles at the back they are in decent league form, unbeaten in their last five; their defeat against Wigan in the FA Cup at the weekend was their first loss in eight matches. Palace have lost just one of their last six on the road but suffered a heavy defeat last time out at the Emirates, their defeats against Arsenal (home and away) are their only league reversals since Christmas.

The main reason that Hammers are long in the Match Odds market [3.1] is that they have serious squad problems. Andy Carroll, Manuel Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic were already out but now Pedro Obiang is added to that injury list after being stretchered off at the weekend and they could have done without the disgraceful act and subsequent long suspension coming for Arthur Masuaku.

Crystal Palace though are not without their own squad problems, they have key players missing in the back four and now Yohan Cabaye is also a big doubt for Roy Hodgson. The Eagles importantly though have had 10 days to prepare for this, having already been knocked out of the FA Cup, but for me are surprise favourites priced at around [2.65].

I think getting the draw onside is good play and despite their major squad issues being able to back West Ham at home in the Draw No Bet Market at [2.18] is the play for me.

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