West Ham light up London Stadium with stunning second-half show
PUBLISHED: 17:10 14 January 2017 | UPDATED: 17:10 14 January 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
Andy Carroll scores with a superb scissor kick as Crystal Palace are crushed
West Ham United 3 Crystal Palace 0
Who needs Payet? That was the question the claret and blue fans were asking themselves as they left the London Stadium celebrating the Hammers biggest victory in their new home.
Three fantastic, second-half goals made it a miserable return to West Ham United for Sam Allardyce, who saw Sofiane Feghouli open the scoring on 67 minutes with his first-ever Premier League goal, before acrobatic Andy Carroll doubled the lead with a sensational scissor-kick ahead of Manuel Lanzini sealing victory in the dying moments.
Eight, emotional, exhausting East End days on from last Friday’s forlorn five-goal FA Cup exit at the hands of Manchester City, the Hammers had also seen an untimely heart attack claim the fleet-footed François van der Elst, while the disappointing, disloyal Dimitri Payet had declared that he had played his last game for the club that had elevated him onto the global stage.
And following that Manchester meltdown, Slaven Bilić made a trio of changes to his 13th-placed side, who kicked-off four rungs and six points ahead of the Eagles as Darren Randolph, James Collins and Mark Noble came in for Havard Nordtveit plus substitutes Adrián and Edimilson Fernandes.
Certainly, the aggrieved Hammers fans wasted no time re-writing the lyrics of ‘We’ve got Payet’ into something far less family-friendly as they implored the fleeing Frenchman to, indeed, make his way home back across the English Channel.
Out on the field, his team-mates quickly shrugged off Payet’s petulance but, lacking any creative spark, chances were few and far between during an opening 25 minutes that saw Bilić’s boys threaten just once, when Carroll volleyed Mark Noble’s dipping right-wing cross just inches over the bar.
Without a win in his opening four games in charge at Selhurst Park, former Hammers boss Allardyce made eight changes from the side that had shared a goalless draw at another one of his old clubs – Bolton Wanderers – in the FA Cup last weekend as old boy James Tomkins, Wayne Hennessey, Scott Dann, Andros Townsend, Jason Puncheon, James McArthur, Yohan Cabaye and Christian Benteke returned to the battle for Premier League survival.
Early on, Puncheon had fired high over and, on the half-hour mark, Cabaye forced the first save of the afternoon with a well-executed, 20-yard volley that Randolph collected as it fizzed through the fresh Stratford air.
Ten minutes before the break, Noble was booked for a lunge on Townsend, who dusted himself down to float over the consequent free-kick but, unmarked, the deep-lying Tomkins could only stab his angled six-yarder across the face of Randolph and beyond the far post.
Puncheon also failed to bundle home from close range, while Joe Ledley and Carroll also found themselves yellow-carded for tripping the escaping Lanzini and jumping Joel Ward as a most uneventful opening 45 minutes drew to a subdued close.
Fit again Sam Byram replaced Angelo Ogbonna for the restart as the Hammers switched to a flat back four and, straight from the kick-off, Carroll’s speculative 20-yard dipper sailed past the right-hand angle of Hennessey, who soon found himself rushing out to head clear from Michail Antonio.
Tomkins bravely denied Carroll at the expense of West Ham’s first corner of the game and, minutes later, the Hammers striker evaded the lunge of his former team-mate before rifling wide from eight yards.
At the other end, Cabaye was off-target from range but the Hammers were getting on top and, when Dann upended Carroll on the edge of the area, Lanzini – on free-kick duty in Payet’s absence – curled the award inches over.
Midway through the half, Pedro Obiang brilliantly picked out the overlapping Byram whose angled volley flew across goal and beyond the far post as the hosts continued to threaten.
Sure enough, on 67 minutes Bilić saw his side break the deadlock, when Antonio raced onto Noble’s perfectly weighted, defence-splitting pass and, after rounding the advancing Hennessey, the West Ham wide-boy stroked the ball into the six-yard box, where Feghouli slid between Damien Delaney and Ward to bundle over the line.
Having finally seen the Eagles wings clipped, Allardyce responded by making a double-switch as Lee Chung-Yong and Loic Rémy replaced McArthur and Townsend and, although each new arrival tried his luck, it was the Hammers boss, who ended up celebrating in the technical area.
With ten minutes remaining, Aaron Cresswell picked out Lanzini down the left flank and the South American patiently found the overlapping Antonio and his deep cross was spectacularly converted by Carroll, who sent an unstoppable 12-yard scissor kick scorching past Hennessey.
Still West Ham were not finished and, four minutes from time, Antonio sent Lanzini clear from halfway and with the chasing Tomkins and Dann only seeing the soles of his boots, the accelerating Argentinian ace cleverly clipped the ball over the helplessly exposed Hennessey to both round off a comprehensive victory and end a traumatic week down West Ham way on a high note.
HAMMERS: Randolph, Reid, Ogbonna (Byram h/t), Collins, Antonio (Fletcher 89), Cresswell, Noble, Obiang, Feghouli, Lanzini (Fernandes 87), Carroll. Unused subs: Adrián, Calleri, Oxford, Quina.
EAGLES: Hennessey, Delaney, Dann, Tomkins, Ward, McArthur (Chung-Yong 70) Ledley (Schlupp 81), Cabaye, Townsend (Rémy 70), Puncheon, Benteke. Unused subs: Speroni, Flamini, Fryers, Kelly.
Referee: Neil Swarbrick.
Bookings: Noble (34), Ledley (37), Carroll (42), Ward (90).
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