Crystal Palace will be looking to get back to winning ways against West Ham on Saturday (April 29), after two consecutive goalless games against Everton and Wolves.

The Eagles lost 2-0 against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday, and drew 0-0 at home to Everton on Saturday.

Roy Hodgson’s side will play against a West Ham team that sit three points behind them in the league with a game in hand.

David Moyes will be looking to capitalise on Palace’s recent dip in form, as the Hammers themselves have a tough schedule in front of them.

West Ham will play Man City, Man United and a Europa Conference League semi-final, all within the next two weeks.

So how will Palace stop the Hammers finding form?


Nullify Antonio


Michail Antonio may not be the most technically gifted striker in the league, or the most prolific, but he provides a physical presence to say the least.

The Jamaican striker has three goals in his last three games, but he’s more known for terrorising defenders with his strength and power, and he will be eyeing the matchup against Palace’s backline on Saturday.

The Eagles' main centre back duo of Joachim Anderson and Marc Guehi aren’t the most physical pairing in the league anyway, but the fact that Anderson has been injured makes it a scarier match-up for Palace.

It’s likely that Antonio will play against Guehi and Palace’s young defender Chris Richards, and Antonio will favour himself in the physical battle.

Palace will need to cut the supply into Antonio and force him into the wide areas where possible.

Antonio’s strengths come when he is battling for possession, chasing down loose balls and competing physically with opposition players, perhaps traits he kept from his time playing as a right back.

The Eagles will need to make sure Guehi and Richards are protected with a midfielder in front of them to completely strip Antonio of the ability to fight for the ball.



Be more direct when in possession


Over the last two games, Palace have struggled when they’ve had possession of the ball, with their last win against Southampton coming when they only had 41% of the ball.

In the two games that followed the Southampton triumph, Palace had 57% of the ball against Everton, and 59% against Wolves, yet did not manage to score in either of them.

It’s clear that Palace prefer to play on the counter-attack, but so do West Ham. In the Hammers' recent games, they’ve had 35% of the ball against Bournemouth (in a 4-0 win), 27% of the ball against Liverpool, and 28% of the ball against Arsenal.

Even in the recent victory at home to Gent in the Europa Conference League, the Hammers saw less of the ball then their opponents, but still managed to score three more than them.

According to, West Ham average just 41.7% of the ball when playing away from home, which is the fourth lowest in the whole of the Premier League.

It’s very likely that Palace will see more of the ball on Saturday, and considering they seem to struggle when having more possession, it may be beneficial for them to play more direct.

West Ham are susceptible to through balls in behind their defence, so playing passes in behind more regularly should cause them more of a problem than just keeping possession, as it seems that is what David Moyes wants the opposition to do.


The midfield battle


A particular strength of West Ham’s team is the midfield, and the battle in the centre of the pitch will be key for Saturday’s game.

Along with Antonio, Lucas Paqueta also has three goals in his last three games and is on his best run of form with the Hammers since his arrival in the summer.

Partnered with Declan Rice, the midfield duo have been key for West Ham throughout the season, and in order to stop the Hammers being victorious at Selhurst Park, the Eagles will have to stop two of West Ham’s best players.

Playing Eze centrally will be key to winning the midfield battle. Throughout the season Eze has proven that he performs better when playing in the middle of the pitch and in order to link play and keep possession, Eze will be key.

In an attacking sense, playing Eze in midfield may even benefit Palace when it comes to scoring goals, not just keeping possession.

According to, 53% of the shots that West Ham face when playing away from home come from inside the 18-yard box, and 66% of the shots they face when playing away from home come from the centre of the pitch.

That is pretty much the exact area that Eze operates, and if you were Palace, there isn’t really anyone else you would want those chances falling to.

All three of Eze’s goals have come inside the 18-yard box and from the central areas since Roy Hodgson took over, so Palace will want take advantage of that to get a positive result on Saturday.