Celebration time? It should have been for both teams. Helmed by the Premier League’s two oldest managers, Crystal Palace and West Ham United kicked off having seeminglyconcluded their respective flirtations with demotion and in a position to express themselves without fear.
After a contest which, for all the closeness of the scoreline, was a one-sided affair, Crystal Palace have reached the traditional guarantee of safety that is 40-points, with a bravura – and, yes, celebratory – performance. Unlike West Ham.
“I pride myself on my teams being hard to play against and hard to beat,” lamented David Moyes, the West Ham manager. “Today we were neither hard to play against nor hard to defeat. We didn’t play well, but nobody should under-estimate how well Crystal Palace played”
For all that they scored three goals, each from a poorly defended corner, West Ham had failed to read the safety script and, following on from Wednesday’s defeat to Liverpool, they have managed to dump themselves back in the relegation ferment.
Whether it was fear or complacency or the difficulty to link sole striker Michail Antonio with those theoretically supporting him, West Ham were second best.
The four goals they conceded reeked of complacency rather than fear. Tomas Soucek and Kurt Zouma were too slow to grasp the dangers for the first.—AP