The view of the opposition: Crystal Palace v West Ham
We provide analysis and the best bets as the Hammers head to the Premier League's bottom club.
Fresh from their brilliant comeback against Spurs in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, West Ham have their sights on a second London away win in the space of four days this weekend.
Interestingly, it was actually against Crystal Palace that the Hammers picked up their first three points on the road last season, winning at Selhurst Park for the third successive season.
And, given the Eagles’ struggles so far this time around, Slaven Bilic’s side have good reason to feel confident of extending that winning run.
Palace are bottom of the league after accruing just three points from their first nine matches, with a shock result against Chelsea earlier this month not proving to be the turning point that some predicted.
Their defeat away to Newcastle last weekend was the eighth time in nine matches this season that they have lost without scoring a goal.
It was also the second time under Roy Hodgson that they have failed to register a single shot on target, an inevitable side effect of the former England manager’s early attempts to tighten them up at the back.
So, with Christian Benteke still injured and Wilfried Zaha feeling his way back from injury, another clean sheet for West Ham’s defence – who twice shut out their opponents last season – is more than achievable.
Particularly considering how little Palace’s fringe players did to state their case on Tuesday, after being thrashed 4-1 by Championship side Bristol City.
West Ham playmaker Manuel Lanzini showed signs in midweek that he is getting back up to full speed after his own spell on the sidelines, with two assists to help swing the tie at Wembley.
The Argentine has a remarkable scoring record against Palace, with a goal in each of his four appearances against them.
And, considering that 11 of the 19 goals their hosts have conceded so far this season have been scored by midfielders popping up in the box, it is he who may well prove the biggest danger to Palace’s vulnerable defence.
West Ham to win –
West Ham to keep a clean sheet –
Manuel Lanzini to score at any time –