Lukasz Fabianski

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Premier League Preview: West Ham v. Crystal Palace

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  • Top ten battle at this point in the season
  • West Ham is unbeaten in PL action since opening day defeat to Man City
  • Crystal Palace without captain Luka Milivojevic due to yellow-card accumulation

Matchweek 8 in the Premier League continues with a top-ten matchup as West Ham welcomes London-rival Crystal Palace to the London Stadium on Saturday afternoon (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and NBCSports.com).

Since its 5-0 beatdown by Manchester City on opening day, West Ham has been one of the Premier League’s most consistent sides in league action. It’s won three matches and drawn three, as Manuel Pellegrini‘s side has managed pretty well without Marko Arnautovic. Declan Rice and new signing Sebastian Haller have been very good, and West Ham has ground out some big results.

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Crystal Palace meanwhile is tied with Chelsea and Tottenham for its place in the table, and Wilfried Zaha and Gary Cahill have been as good as advertised for Roy Hodgson‘s side. However, it’s an added test for them without Milivojevic this weekend.

Injuries/suspensions

West Ham: OUT – Lukasz Fabianski (thigh), Winston Reid (knee), Michail Antonio (hamstring). RETURNING – Jack Wilshere, Manuel Lanzini

Crystal Palace: OUT – Luka Milivojevic (yellow cards), Momadou Sakho (muscle)


Projected lineups

West Ham: Roberto – Fredricks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell – Rice, Noble – Anderson, Lanzini, Yarmolenko – Haller.

Crystal Palace: Guaita – J. Ward, Cahill, Kelly, Van Aanholt Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell – Kouyate, Meyer, McArthur – Zaha, Ayew, Schlupp


What they’re saying

Manuel Lanzini on his time at West Ham: “I’ve scored some good goals against Palace. I hope I’m going to score more goals. “I think it will be a very hard and difficult game. They are playing well, and they have some very good players, so we will need to work hard and keep playing in the way we have been; with the same spirit. We need to take the three points to continue our good start.”

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson on Zaha’s early-season form: “At the start of the season, the first two games really, he wasn’t perhaps the Wilf we know and love but since that time he has been the Wilf that we know and love. Like I’ve said right the way through, like Steve [Parish] has said right the way through, he’s a player we need. To his credit, he’s focused on one thing and one thing only and that is helping Crystal Palace.


Prediction

West Ham and Crystal Palace have had a strong start to the year, but we see this as advantage West Ham. They’re at home, not missing their captain, and Sebastian Haller has been very dangerous all season. West Ham 2-1 Crystal Palace.

West Ham goalkeeper Fabianski feared lost for 3 months to hip injury

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Reports out of England on Monday, including Sky Sports, claim that Lukasz Fabianski‘s hip injury suffered in the first half of the 2-2 draw with Bournemouth on Saturday could leave him out for 3 months. He went down after blasting a goal kick in the 34th minute, in clear pain on the ground where he required lengthy treatment before being helped off.

The Sky report claims that Fabianski has a torn hip muscle and could require surgery, meaning he would miss extended time. That leaves new signing Roberto as the first-choice goalkeeper until Fabianski’s return, having signed from Espanyol on a free transfer this summer. Previous backup Adrian left the club this summer for Liverpool, where he has taken over for an injured Alisson and performed well.

The 33-year-old Roberto has been with 10 clubs throughout his career, mostly spending his club time in his native Spain. He was Malaga’s first-choice goalkeeper two seasons ago before moving to Espanyol where he did not make a league appearance, stuck behind Diego Lopez. He spent three seasons as the Olympiacos starter from 2013-2016, racking up 88 Greek Super League appearances and 20 Champions League starts.

33-year-old David Martin, who spent seven years with MK Dons between 2010 and 2017 racking up 334 appearances, is now the backup after also signing this summer on a free transfer from Millwall.

Fabianski is a massive loss for West Ham as they sit a promising fourth in the Premier League table after seven matches. He was tabbed as the club’s Player of the Season last year and has consistently shown up on lists of the best Premier League goalkeepers over the past 12 months. Fabianski has kept three clean sheets so far this season in league play and made more saves last season than any other goalkeeper in the league. West Ham has gone unbeaten in Premier League play since an opening day 5-0 loss to defending champions Manchester City.

The 34-year-old former Arsenal goalkeeper signed for West Ham from Swansea City before the start of last season for $8.6 million. He has also played significant time with the Polish national team over the last five years, starting each of their last four Euro 2020 qualifiers. Poland will now turn to Wojciech Szczesny who started the first two qualifiers of the cycle and kept clean sheets against Austria and Latvia.

Nothing to separate entertaining Bournemouth, West Ham United

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Two would-be Top Seven teams both delivered attacking quality on Saturday, but West Ham United will be happier as it delivered a late equalizer in a 2-2 with Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.

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Andriy Yarmolenko scored early and helped set-up Aaron Cresswell‘s late goal, and Felipe Anderson was also a driving force for the Irons.

But Bournemouth will feel aggrieved by the chalking off of a Nathan Ake goal by VAR, one that would’ve made it 3-1.

Callum Wilson and Joshua King scored the goals that counted as the Cherries now sit seventh on 11 points, one point behind third-place West Ham.


Three things we learned

1. Yarmolenko at his very best: Last week’s star show led to another for the Ukranian playmaker, who took the fine work of Sebastien Haller to set him up and raised it to the next level. He worked a very good center back in Nathan Ake to score, and could’ve had two or three assists on the day. With Haller, Manuel Lanzini, and Yarmolenko, the Irons have game changers.

2. VAR stings Cherries: Bournemouth’s Ake thought he had a goal to go with an assist, and the Cherries would’ve had a 3-1 lead had VAR not noted that Ryan Fredericks was hip-to-hip with a just offside Dominic Solanke as the ball took the slightest of turns off the West Ham defender. It’s an offside that probably never gets called without video, as Solanke was in the sightline of Irons goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez but not making a play on the ball.

3. Wilson scores, but will rue miss: Are these the sort of missed chances that keep Callum Wilson from breaking into the England mix? The striker scored once, yeah, but his 1v1 chance belted into Jimenez’s thigh from close range is one which should’ve really decided the match.

BONUS. Fabianski injury a big concern: Roberto Jimenez has plenty of experience between the sticks, but Lukasz Fabianski limping off heavily could be a major prob for the Irons. He was one of their best players last season, and West Ham looks up for a Top Seven challenge. Slim margins between star keepers and adequate ones.

Man of the Match: Yarmolenko


West Ham took a deserved lead following its bright start, as Sebastien Haller settled the ball and laid off for Yarmolenko. The Ukranian turned Nathan Ake — no east feat — and curled a gorgeous ball around a helpless Aaron Ramsdale.

VAR took a look at a potential Bournemouth equalizer which had been blown dead for offside. Ake’s trap of a cross was kept onside, and King’s classy finish hit the scoreboard after a minute’s review.

The next moment was an injury, as West Ham star backstop Lukasz Fabianski was banged up and the Irons introduced well-traveled Spanish backstop Roberto Jimenez. The backup allowed four goals to Oxford United at midweek.

Felipe Anderson had a scissor kick well-saved by Ramsdale on the edge of first half stoppage to keep West Ham from taking what would’ve been a fairly well-earned advantage.

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Wilson belted a shot past Jimenez, after the referee played advantage following a foul on Dominic Solanke outside the 18. Perhaps the defense and keeper shifted off, but Wilson did not. 2-1 after 29 seconds of the second half.

Ake made it 3-1 in traffic, but would it stand past VAR? No, a razor-thin call went against the goal scorer, whose shot hit West Ham’s Ryan Fredericks on its way past Jimenez. Solanke was ruled to be offside.

Yarmolenko’s curling effort nearly leveled the score line in the 64th, but just missed the far post.

The in-form Ukranian then sent a gorgeous pass over the fray for Anderson to head on Ramsdale, who was wise to the effort.

Jimenez denied Wilson 1v1, an unreal opportunity denied by indecision and sturdy goalkeeping.

Cresswell delivered West Ham’s equalizer, scoring tighter to goal than his pristine free kick last week. It was a Yarmolenko cross headed back into the fray by Anderson.

West Ham surges past tame Manchester United

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Manuel Pellegrini‘s West Ham United passed a big test, moving into the Top Four with a decisive 2-0 defeat of struggling Manchester United at London’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday.

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Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell scored on either side of halftime to send West Ham fourth with 11 points.

Man United remains eighth with eighth, and lost Marcus Rashford to injury.


Three things we learned

1. Healthy Yarmolenko a big asset: Injuries short-circuited Andriy Yarmolenko’s first year at West Ham after they did the same to his only campaign at Borussia Dortmund, so it’s been easy to forget that the Ukraine playmaker is pacey, creative, and lethal. His lunging finish to beat De Gea in the first half was simply one moment of a match full of good ones, as he fooled Harry Maguire in the process. Three shots, a key pass, and a goal from the right-sided wide man. Good stuff.

2. Pogba import underscored as Rashford adds to injury woes: With Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba already out, the non-contact injury that sent Marcus Rashford to the tunnel is a scary thought for a United team incapable of creative work through the middle. Andreas Pereira was a danger out wide, and Daniel James has proven himself a handful, but a long-term injury to Rashford would heap pressure on young Mason Greenwood. Without Pogba pulling the strings inside — forget Martial’s early season wizardry — this team is in big, big trouble.

Not great, Ed.

3. Technique on return: Aaron Cresswell had a free kick from the right of the 18, with the wall lined up to stop any ideas of a near post effort. Spoiler alert: It didn’t work. The West Ham left back swept a piece of technical beauty over the wall, spinning it into the upper 90 despite the best efforts of David De Gea. Sensational.

Man of the Match: Yarmolenko.


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Andreas Pereira’s industrious run up the right forced a hard obstruction out of Angelo Ogbonna, who collected a yellow card.

Andriy Yarmolenko was bright early, and linked up with Felipe Anderson to curl a shot into the arms of David De Gea in the 20th minute.

Marcus Rashford drove into the box then was thrown-off by the oncoming Declan Rice and bobbled his dribble, allowing the West Ham man to take the ball away.

De Gea had to make a save on a half-hit Mark Noble strike which was re-directed by Victor Lindelof.

Yarmolenko scored before halftime, Noble and Anderson working the ball inside for the Ukrainian to cut past De Gea through traffic. Beautiful stuff, and it forced a rare mistake out of Harry Maguire.

The second half started well for United, with Juan Mata missing a sliding effort at the back post set up by Andreas Pereira and Scott McTominay bundled a shot to Lukasz Fabianski in the 57th.

That’s when Rashford limped off following a non-contact injury.

Yarmolenko set up Anderson for a near post drive that De Gea foiled in the 62nd.

Cresswell made it 2-0 from a free kick in the 84th, De Gea somehow getting a hand to the left-back’s piece of technical beauty.

Three things we learned: Aston Villa v. West Ham

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BIRMINGHAM — Aston Villa and West Ham played out a tense, tight 0-0 draw at Villa Park on Monday, as the Hammers were reduced to 10 men but held on fairly comfortably.

In a game where both teams somewhat cancelled each another out, with their similar approaches and two big men starved of service, Aston Villa had the better chances and will feel like that was two points dropped.

Here’s what we learned from Villa Park.


Wesley v. HALLER A DAMP SQUIB

This was billed as a battle of the big men, and neither showed up. Both big men are essential to the way their teams play, and both had tough evenings. Wesley was more mobile than Haller, making runs right across West Ham’s defense, and he did just that but somehow put a header wide from inside the six yard box early on. He worked tirelessly but it just didn’t happen for him.

As for Haller, he was less mobile, which was surprising, and his first big chance was a tame header wide after Anderson popped the ball right on top of his head. Haller didn’t run himself into the ground and was slow to react to loose balls around the box, but in fairness the service to him was lacking. Both teams are set up to play the ball to their target man as soon as possible and then get their playmakers around them to create havoc from the knock downs or layoffs. Both Wesley and Haller will be far from happy with their displays.


POINTS NOT MATCHING VILLA’S PERFORMANCES

There’s not doubt Villa had the better of the play, and chances, but just as much as their build-up play dazzled, their lackluster finishing once again let them down. Playing against 10 men for the final 25 minutes, Villa failed to make that advantage count. John McGinn‘s efforts from outside the box caused Lukasz Fabianski the biggest problems, and had Wesley powered home a header early on it could have been a very different outcome.

Villa have played well enough in their opening five games to have at least an extra four points on the board. It’s still early days but Villa are in the bottom four, and unless they become more ruthless that’s where they will stay this season.


STAGNANT GREALISH A CONCERN

Many believe Jack Grealish should have be in and around the England national team. Monday’s display, which epitomized his season so far, proved he still has a long way to go. Grealish was busy, trying to get on the ball as much as he could, but he took too many risks in front of his back four and gave the ball away needlessly on plenty of occasions. He failed to make incisive runs off Wesley and aside from the odd long ball out wide or clever flick, he didn’t cause West Ham many problems.

Grealish has the quality to unlock defenses and deliver moments of real quality in the final third and he had Villa’s best chance in the 88th minute but he shanked horribly wide when unmarked at the back post. That summed up his night. Grealish has yet to do it in the Premier League and at the age of 24 he is no longer a young buck with plenty of potential. He has to stand tall and deliver to drag Villa up the table.