Ayew wondergoal completes Palace comeback v. West Ham

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Jordan Ayew‘s solo wondergoal won all three points for Crystal Palace in a 2-1 defeat of West Ham United at Selhurst Park on Thursday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Robert Snodgrass had put the Irons in front, but former West Ham man Cheikhou Kouyate equalized as all the goals came after halftime.

Palace moves 11th with 24 points, while West Ham slips 17th with 19 points.

Three things we learned

1. Ayew delivers a beautiful winner: The Palace forward joined Wilfried Zaha in being a proper threat, but his winner was all about him. The 28-year-old Ghanian cut toward the 18 and moved free with a spinning turn before using a delightful chip to leave Roberto pawing at air.

2. Pellegrini’s inconsistent Irons put him at risk: Michail Antonio was strong and Sebastien Haller had moments atop the attack, but the Irons attack only managed a pair of shots on target. Felipe Anderson and Manuel Lanzini came off the bench to decent effect, but certainly are nowhere near their top form. Irons boss Manuel Pellegrini must be at wits’ end.

3. Quality, not industry, denies West Ham: The Irons won more challenges — 28-14 in the air — and had more tackles, interceptions, and clearances. Some of those are down to Palace’s time with the ball, but it’s worth noting that for as poor as the Irons have been, they have not quit on Pellegrini.

Man of the Match: Ayew was phenomenal. He was everywhere, involved in 22 duels while completing 8 of 9 dribbles and making three key passes. The goal was the moment, of course, but it was the richly-deserved reward for a day worth of work.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Wilfried Zaha’s marvelous dribble down the left was deserving of an opening assist, but Palace’s right side didn’t run through the six to meet his pass.

Max Meyer found the loose ball and slid an invitation back through the box, but Jordan Ayew’s sliding effort went wide of the goal.

Ayew bossed Cresswell into a turnover but couldn’t rip a shot past Roberto.

The Irons went in front when Antonio created space and slipped through Snodgrass, who had the better of Patrick Van Aanholt and swerved home.

Van Aanholt nearly made amends but dragged his effort wide of the far post.

Kouyate equalized against his former club and declined celebration as the Selhurst Park faithful did plenty in his stead. Ayew popped a James McArthur cross onto the path of Kouyate for an unmarked finish.

Roberto denied Connor Wickham on a long solo run toward goal, a heavy touch defying the sub a wonderful moment.

Jaro Riedewald slid to deny Snodgrass’ 87th minute bid for a winner.

Ayew won it late with a classy maneuver into the 18 to dink over a fooled Roberto.

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.

West Ham adds Espanyol goalkeeper Roberto

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West Ham has added an experienced goalkeeper behind its reigning Player of the Season.

Espanyol backstop Roberto Jimenez Gago, 33, is headed to the London Stadium, where Lukasz Fabianski stole the show in his first season between the sticks.

[ MORE: 3 key battles in UCL Final ]

Roberto is well-traveled, having spent time with Atletico Madrid, Benfica, Zaragoza, Olympiacos, and Malaga.

He was behind Diego Lopez at Espanyol.

West Ham director of football Mario Husillos knows Roberto well, via

“I worked with Roberto during my time at Malaga,” he confirmed. “He is a fantastic goalkeeper, who has a great deal of experience in football, having played at the highest level. During his time at Olympiakos, I spoke regularly with the coaches and many of them spoke about Roberto as one of the biggest goalkeepers in the history of the club.”

Champions League Wednesday preview: Real Madrid takes next step in defense

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Many neutrals will be hoping for more exciting UEFA Champions League action come Wednesday, and even ardent fans of the teams that played Tuesday have to admit there was a lot left to be desired after a pair of low-action draws.

So can we expect better than what Chelsea, PSG, Shakhtar Donetsk and Bayern Munich gave us on Tuesday?

Almost certainly.

[ MORE: Champions League roundup ]

High-flying Real Madrid heads to Germany to take on Schalke, while sneaky good Porto will head to Switzerland for a first leg against steady Basel. Why should it be better?

FC Basel vs. Porto

For one thing, Porto may not be the club that won it all for Jose Mourinho in 2004, but they have plenty of exciting players on the squad. Granted Group H wasn’t a difficult group, but Porto boasted 16 goals and a plus-12 goal differential. Jackson Martinez has led the way for Porto with five goals, but plenty have chipped in to help. Cameroon’s Vincent Aboubaker, Algeria’s Yachine Brahimi and the Netherlands’ Bruno Martins Indi are players who can make an impact for the Portuguese side.

Basel is a steady side that finished second in Group B, keeping Liverpool from the Round of 16, but claims it won’t sit back against Porto. Fabian Frei and Derlis Gonzalez provide much of the offense for a team that scored just 7 times in the group stage, allowing eight. However that includes a 5-1 loss at Real Madrid and another 1-0 loss versus the reigning champs. Take away Madrid, and Basel has scored six goals, conceding just two. That includes taking four of six points from Liverpool.

Schalke vs. Real Madrid

The hosts are in their fourth-straight Round of 16, but haven’t made the quarterfinals since 2011 when they lost to Manchester United in the semifinal. That said, Schalke was soundly defeated by Real Madrid last season in this round (9-2 on aggregate). Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has three goals in this season’s UCL, but may have to better that over two legs if Schalke wants any hope of upsetting the champs.

Roberto Di Matteo says they’ll have to hope Madrid doesn’t reclaim its form:

Of course we have all seen that Madrid have shown certain weaknesses in the past three or four weeks, so we will focus on capitalising on them. Every team has weaknesses. Nevertheless, they are still a side with very good players.

Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo have lit the UCL on fire so far, with five goals and two assists each. Only three players (Edinson Cavani, Luis Adriano and Lionel Messi) have scored more so far this season. Madrid only conceded a pair of goals in group play, one on the road at Razgrad and another in a 5-1 blowout of Basel. Look for more fireworks here.