West Ham survive late Crystal Palace comeback to win thrilling encounter

And Happy New Year. Crystal Palace have confirmed a few hours ago that manager Patrick Vieira will return to the dugout for this match with West Ham, after missing the last two games against Tottenham and Norwich following his positive test for Covid-19. While the club confirmed his positive result on Boxing Day, Vieira’s period of self-isolation has now ended and he is able to resume touchline responsibilities for the visit of West Ham who have dropped to fifth after taking four points from their last four games, a draw with Burnley followed by defeats by Arsenal and Southampton before a revivifying victory over Watford. 

Palace, fresh off the 3-0 victory over Norwich, are deprived the services of  Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise, Joachim Andersen, James McArthur and Nathaniel Clyne, but Cameroon-bound Wilfried Zaha is back from suspension and Conor Gallagher is available. James Tomkins should play against his old club.

Declan Rice, like Zaha, has fulfilled his suspension and team captain should replace club caotain Mark Noble in the heart of midfield. The three defenders Kurt Zouma, Angelo Ogbonna and Aaron Cresswell are all still missing with injury while Pablo Fornals has Covid-19.  

David Moyes celebrated two years’ in charge in his second spell at West Ham this week and spoke with pride about his accomplishments. 

“What makes me most happy is there’s signs of shoots of recovery at West Ham United Football Club,” said Moyes. “People are talking about the football club more than maybe they have done in the past. That’s mostly down to the players, the young players and the players we’ve brought in.

“All those things I’m pleased about. We have a support that now enjoys watching the team.  That gives me a lot of pride because it means you’re doing something right. The praise will always go to the players for the way they’ve performed.

“I’m trying to get better at what I do, change how we play and improve the style. But ultimately the big thing you want to do is win. I want to try and win as many games as we can. In the two years it’s maybe been as good a record as I’ve had at different times – our win ratio in the main. What I felt I could bring to West Ham was an idea of how you could build a football club and how you could grow it.

“We’re only at the start of that journey but we’ve started really well and now I hope we can try and get another layer.  It doesn’t always come right away but for us to try and remain consistent like last year and finish in the top half would be another step in the right direction.

“There are other things I want us to grow. I want a better youth team, I want us to do much more better things around the training ground, as correctly as we can. There are a lot of things we can do to keep moving along.”

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