George McCartney

Watch Live: West Ham United vs. Crystal Palace (Lineups and Discuss)

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It’s a battle for guaranteed Premier League safety at Upton Park today, with both West Ham and Crystal Palace able to secure another season in the top flight if they manage to get all three points (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET online via Live Extra).

West Ham, currently on 37 points, are seven points clear of the drop and look unlikely to be relegated. Still, assurance of safety would be nice. Alas, the Irons need more than just a win: for a guarantee of Premier League play next season, they also need Fulham, Cardiff and Sunderland all to lose.

It’s the visitors that are more likely to secure a second consecutive season in the top flight. Tony Pulis, the man that’s never been relegated, just needs his side to get all three points – it matters not at all what other results this weekend are. And with four wins in a row for Crystal Palace, another victory certainly doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility.

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It’s no surprise that Pulis elects to keep his starting XI steady, making just one change from the midweek 3-2 win over Everton. Marouane Chamakh is replaced by Joe Ledley, producing the same starting lineup that beat Aston Villa last weekend. Of course, Jason Puncheon, with four goals in last three matches, gets the nod.

After the midweek defeat at Arsenal, Sam Allardyce is hoping to shake things up, making two changes to his starting lineup. George McCartney is in for Guy Demel, while Kevin Nolan replaces Antonio Nocerino, who drops to the bench once more.

LINEUPS

West Ham United: Adrian, McCartney, Tomkins, Reid, Armero, Noble, Diame, Nolan Downing, Carroll, Jarvis

Subs: Taylor, O’Brien, Jaaskelainen, C.Cole, J.Cole, Johnson, Nocerino

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward, Digkacoi, Jedinak, Puncheon, Bolasie, Ledley, Jerome

Subs: Hennessey, Gabbidon, Parr, Guedioura, Ince, Gayle, Murray

Watch Live: West Ham vs Liverpool (Lineups and Discuss)

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Liverpool search for their return to the top of the table as they remain in control of the Premier League title race.

The Reds return to the office from Upton Park at 11am ET live on CNBC or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

Despite being in control of their own destiny with six matches to go, Liverpool only have to look as far as London to find out that one slip-up against an under-respected opponent could mean the death of their title chances.

Chelsea fell to Crystal Palace last week causing Jose Mourinho to rule the Blues out of the title race. While they may no longer have a clear path, the Blues now lie in wait for a club like Liverpool to slip up just as well.

It is the Blues who are currently top of the table, but a win would see Liverpool jump back into a two-point lead.

Brendan Rodgers is without defender Jose Enrique, and has made just one change from last week’s squad, dropping Daniel Agger for Mamadou Sakho.

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In order to claim victory, Liverpool will have to control former Red Andy Carroll, who faces his former club for the first time following his permanent move this summer to Upton Park.

Carroll downed Sunderland just a few days ago, but he will need to keep up with a much more potent attack this time around.  He will have his captain Kevin Nolan in the lineup after being forced off with back stiffness in the waning minutes of the midweek victory.

Sam Allardyce and West Ham will be without on George McCartney, who didn’t fare as well after coming off at halftime of the Sunderland match.  Joey O’Brien and Marco Borriello are also out.

LINEUPS:

West Ham United – Adrian; Armero, Reid, Tomkins, Demel; Noble, Taylor, Diame, Downing, Nolan; Carroll.
Bench – Jaaskelainen, Jarvis, C Cole, J Cole, Potts, Johnson, Nocerino.

Liverpool – Mignolet,; Johnson, Flanagan, Sakho, Skrtel; Gerrard, Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling; Suarez, Sturridge.
Bench – Jones, Toure, Cissokho, Lucas, Moses, Allen, Aspas.

Watch Live: West Ham United vs. Swansea (Lineups and Discuss)

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With a win over Swansea at Upton Park today, West Ham could pull themselves out of the relegation zone (7:45 a.m. ET, watch live online on NBC Sports Live Extra).

The Irons have had an interesting time of it over the past couple months, with their normally stoic defense often falling to pieces, most notably in cup matches. But West Ham managed to hold Chelsea to a goalless draw midweek, and by bringing in five players on loan this January, it’s clear they mean to do whatever they can to stay in the Premier League.

That may include Sam Allardyce sticking to his traditional tactics against Swansea, particularly as it proved so fruitful midweek. The Swans are no Chelsea – especially without Michu – but they’ve still managed to make things tough for the opposition. The reverse fixture ended in a 0-0 draw, and Allardyce just might decide to play for that point once more.

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West Ham may have made a splash in the transfer market, swooping in to snag quite a few out of favor players from Serie A, but none of the new signings make the Starting XI. Allardyce makes just two changes to the side that held Chelsea midweek, with Joey O’Brien and Mohamed Diamé both injured. Matt Jarvis and George McCartney step in to help prop up the Irons’ defense.

Swansea didn’t make as many waves in the transfer market – rather surprisingly, considering the injuries they’ve faced this season – but newcomer David Ngog makes the bench. Michael Laudrup has made three changes to the side that beat Fulham midweek, with Angel Rangel, Leon Britton and Pablo Hernández dropping to the bench, and Dwight Tiendalli, Jordi Amat and Nathan Dyer taking their place.

LINEUPS

West Ham United: Adrian, McCartney, Nolan, Tomkins, Jarvis, Carroll, Taylor, Noble, Collins, Demel, Downing

Subs: Jaaskelainen, Reid, Morrison, C.Cole, Johnson, Borriello, Nocerino

Swansea City: Tremmel, Tiendalli, Chico, Williams, Davies, Amat, de Guzman, Shelvey, Dyer, Routledge, Bony

Subs: Cornell, Rangel, Britton, Pozuelo, Lamah, Hernandez, Ngog

Cardiff City 0-2 West Ham: Victory lifts Irons out of the drop zone (video)

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West Ham’s win at Cardiff may very well have saved Sam Allardyce’s job, at least for the moment. The three points lift the Irons even with today’s opponents, but, by virtue of goal difference, push Cardiff down into the relegation zone. Now it’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who’ll be feeling the pressure, with the new Cardiff manager expected to turn the side around.

The match may have been a relegation six-pointer, but West Ham, three points from safety, were even more in need of a win, and it was evident from the start. With five minutes gone, the visitors had an opportunity of sorts, when Stewart Downing’s cross sailed past his teammates yet connected with the post. James Tomkins tried to get ahold of the rebound, but David Marshall came out to rescue Cardiff.

Shortly thereafter, Guy Demel collided with teammate Roger Johnson, crashing to the ground and lying still. After a lengthy delay, Demel was stretchered off. Reports from West Ham are that he has been admitted to hospital for tests, with more information provided when available.

It was the hosts that looked to be on top for the majority of the first half, yet West Ham went into the break leading thanks to a goal from Carlton Cole. Matt Taylor put the ball out wide, giving Matt Jarvis the chance to send it across the face of goal. Carlton Cole pushed past the Cardiff defense to send the ball into the roof of the net.

Cardiff, out of ideas, were forced to resort to appealing for a penalty during the first half’s injury time, when Craig Noone went down under a challenge from James Tomkins. The referee waved play on, and the hosts went into the break trailing 1-0.

Solskjaer brought on Craig Bellamy to start the second half, hoping the forward’s first appearance in two months might buoy his squad. Cardiff did look lively, pressing for the equalizer throughout the second half. Mark Hudson nearly put in a Bellamy free kick, but his header was high.

Cardiff again appealed for a penalty when George McCartney appeared to handle the ball inside the area, but again they got no sympathy. Lee Mason again waved away appeals when McCartney pawed at Frazier Campbell inside the area.

Campbell must’ve thought he’d gotten his own back when he lashed out a great strike. But Adrian performed an amazing save, managing to tip the ball over the bar to preserve West Ham’s lead.

The hosts finally had a decision go their way when James Tomkins was sent off, earning a second yellow for a high boot. With almost 20 minutes remaining, the Bluebirds’ play made it seem like it’d be just a matter of time before an equalizer.

Instead it was West Ham that grabbed the second goal. Andy Carroll, on for Carlton Cole in the 72nd minute, slipped a neat ball in to Mark Noble. Noble’s low shot nestled into the far corner, securing all three points for the Irons.

Cardiff City: Marshall, Theophile-Catherine, Hudson (Cornelius 78) Caulker, John, Whittingham, Medel (Eikrem 65), Kim, Noone, Campbell, Odemwingie (Bellamy 45)

West Ham: Adrian, Tomkins, Jarvis, Rat, Collison (Diarra 75), Taylor, Noble, Demel (McCartney 17), Downing, C Cole (Carroll 72), Johnson

Goals: Carlton Cole 42′; Noble 93′

Crystal Palace 1-0 West Ham United: Eagles protect first half goal, take first win under Pulis (video)

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Marouane Chamakh’s goal near the end of the first half gave Crystal Palace their third win of the season, the Eagles’ 1-0 victory over West Ham United at Selhurst Park vaulting the club out of the cellar Premier League cellar, giving the team their first victory of the Tony Pulis era.

After the second game of their new manager’s reign, Palace temporarily climbs above Sunderland and into 19th place, with the Black Cats hosting Chelsea tomorrow. West Ham, coming off a 3-0 weekend win over Fulham, stay 15th, having won once in their last seven league games.

The Hammers nearly drew first blood on Tuesday, with a Carlton Cole ball sent through the six-yard box from the left of goal in the 36th minute skipping over Stewart Downing’s foot in front of a vacated right post. With a shot from Kevin Nolan having drawing a save from Julian Speroni five minutes earlier, the visitors to be breaking through the match’s early feeling out period  and building toward an opening goal.

It was Crystal Palace, however, who’d distinguish themselves before halftime, with Chamakh’s second goal of the season giving the home side a lead at the break. Against a club when he spent an ill-fated loan spell with last year, the target man converted on a 42nd minute corner, Barry Bannan’s floated cross after a ball playing short allowing the former Arsenal striker to carve out room between himself and Nolan. Heading down and into the left of goal, Chamakh sent his team into intermission with a 1-0 lead.

Early in the second, Crystal Palace nearly doubled their lead, with chances from James Puncheon and Cameron Jerome testing Jussi Jaaskelainen’s ability to keep his team within one. At full stretch to his right post, the Finnish goalkeeper denied Puncheon from 14 yards in the 51st minute, pushing the ball out for a corner. Moments later, Mile Jedinak headed Cameron Jerome past an out-of-position James Collins and in on goal. Bursting off his line, Jaaskelainen blocked the former Stoke striker’s chance to double his new team’s lead, keeping the visitors within reach.

Five minutes later, with the field starting to tilt toward West Ham’s goal, Sam Allardyce changed things up, bringing on Modibo Maiga and Joe Cole for Carlton Cole and Noble. Soon injury forced Tony Pulis into his first change, bringing on Jimmy Kébé for James Puncheon in the 66th minute. As the game entered it final 20 minutes, Crystal Palace begun holding out, conceding the bulk of the match’s possession to the Hammers.

As the second half wore down, the fresh legs of Stuart O’Keefe and Jonathan Williams gave Palace a way out of their own end, with Kébé nearly finding an insurance goal after turning on a shot toward an open goal from 17 yards out. But rushed by a small, desperate swarm of Hammers defenders, the Eagles’ attacker shot over the cross-bar, giving fans at Selhurst Park a few more moments’ doubt.

Ninety seconds later, Lee Mason’s window calmed their concerns. With their second win in three games, Palace has climbed out of last place, Tony Pulis giving his new club’s supporters reason to their team can move on from the season’s tough start.

Goals

Crystal Palace: Marouane Chamakh 42

Lineups

Crystal Palace: Julian Speroni; Joel Ward, Danny Gabbidon, Damien Delaney, Dean Moxey; James Puncheon (Jimmy Kébé 66), Mile Jedinak, Kagiso Dikgocoi, Barry Bannan (Stuart O’Keefe 82); Marouane Chamakh (Jonathan Williams 85), Cameron Jerome

Unused Substitutes: Lewis Price, Adrian Mariappa, Dwight Gayle, Kevin Phillips

West Ham United: Jussi Jaaskelainen; Joey O’Brien, James Collins, James Tomkins, Razvan Rat (George McCartney 78);Mark Noble, Kevin Nolan (Joe Cole 58), Ravel Morrison, Stewart Downing, Mohamed Diame; Carlton Cole (Modibo Maiga 58).

UnusedSubstitutes: Adrian, Matthew Jarvis, Guy Demel, Jack Collison