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    West Ham V Crystal Palace

    West ham supporters saw their future in their past at the weekend, falling to defeat a Palace side playing fast attacking football with a number of British players. This philosophy has been the ambition for a number of years now for the Wet Ham faithful, if only there chairmen would listen. Fans of the East London club are steadily getting more and more frustrated with Big Sam and are pushing for a change in leadership.

    But by looking into the past we also see that sides that have sacked Sam Allardyce as manager have steadily got worse. This is evident  in the case of Bolton, Blackburn and Newcastle who sacked Allardyce and subsequently ended up relegated into England’s second tier.
    Polar opposites when looking at Crystal Palace who in Alan Pardew have a club icon, well respected and adored by majority of fans. Since taking over he has restored a calm to proceedings, making them more solid in defence and increasingly prudent going forward. This has resulted in them looking up the table and more likely to survive the drop.

    The games first half was anything but a spectacle, unless you consider a spectacle to be which team can play worse, if this is the case then it was a very even battle with both sides putting forward a fair case to showcase how poorly they could play.

    The Hammers did threaten through set plays and this was evident when Captain Mark Noble hit the bar with a curling free kick form just outside the area. The local boy has been in impressive form this year, earning himself a new long term contract and persuading many that he deserves an England call up. Aaron Cresswell, who has been in similar form this season after his arrival in the summer from Ipswich came close with a cross / shot which narrowly, sailed over from outside of the box.

    Arguably against the run of play Palace struck first with Glenn Murray slotting home to give his side the lead. West Ham huffed and puffed with little penetration as the organised defence of Crystal Palace stood firm. Allardyce will have been relieved to get his side in at half time, however after only six minutes being played in the second half; Palace increased their lead with ever present central defender Scott Dann rising above the West Ham defence to double his sides lead.
    Big Sam who prides his sides on defending and attacking set pieces will be waking in his sleep this week as again he saw his side come undone by a set piece. Troublesome Murray was the benefactor once again from poor West Ham defending, finishing from inside the box as a result of Puncheons free kick. But Murrays day in the sun became somewhat short lived when he turned villain, fouling the up to this game in form centre half Winston Reid and thus receiving a second yellow card and entrance to the early bath club.

    This gave the Hammers an emphasis to push on and reduce Palace’s lead. New signing Nene lifted the crowd and the striker came close with an effort striking the post before Valencia struck past Speroni in the Eagles goal. West Ham continued to press and began to look threatening, however for all of their efforts they repeatedly found it difficult to break down Alan Pardew’s side, much to the annoyance of their fans. Palace held off West Ham with stiff resistance and earned themselves an invaluable three points at a time where points are at a premium.

    In interviews after the game Big Sam highlighted that he thought both Murray and Palace captain Jedinak should have been sent off for various offences and bemoaned his side’s inability to defend set pieces. Alternatively, Pardew hailed his players for their display away from home that has lifted them eight points clear with eleven games to go. He lead specific praise towards Glenn Murray who despite being sent off claimed he was “terrific and the sending off shouldn't take anything away from that”

    With the Hammers being booed off at the end of the game, it seems Big Sam’s time at the East London club could be coming to an end. His current deal expires at the end of this season, with talks scheduled to take place with the board in the summer. However as mentioned before be careful what you wish for. Sometimes it’s better the devil you know, than the one you don’t.

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    Item Reviewed: West Ham V Crystal Palace Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sam Taylor
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