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August 23 2019 9.58am

Key clashes: Palace v West Ham

February 6 2019

Vicente Guaita

Vicente Guaita

Hunter Young reveals the match-ups to watch out for in Crystal Palace's home fixture against West Ham United.

After securing three vital points against Fulham last week, Palace will hope for similar success against the inconsistent Hammers. West Ham come into this game in 12th place, two above Palace, with their last four league outings providing a good snapshot of their season: losses to Bournemouth and Wolves sandwiched by a win over Arsenal and a draw with Liverpool.

The Eagles will be looking to avoid a result similar to that of the first fixture in which West Ham came from behind to take maximum points.

Vicente Guaita v Felipe Anderson

After a red-hot first half of the season, Felipe Anderson has cooled off in 2019. The Brazilian attacker has not scored since his brace against Southampton in December 2018. Despite running short on the goals recently, Anderson is still the Hammers' leading scorer and will be an ever-present threat in Saturday’s match.

Summer signing Vicente Guaita has only started eight Premier League games this season but there is no doubt that the first-choice shirt is his when he is fit. The Spanish shot-stopper has kept four clean sheets in his eight starts and was forced off with injury and no goals conceded in another. By frustrating Anderson and his teammates, Guaita can ensure Palace get a positive result.

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Luka Milivojevic v Mark Noble

At this point, Mark Noble might as well be renamed Mr West Ham. The academy product has been with the Hammers since the turn of the century and a part of the first team picture since 2004. The captain had added 19 appearances to his more than 400 for the club this season and remains the leader of the team both on and off the pitch.

In this weekend’s game, the two captains will do direct battle in the centre of the park as Luka Milivojevic will attempt to shut down Noble and help the Eagles control the engine room. The Serbian scored his seventh goal of the season last week, extending his lead on the stop scorer title, with most of his goals coming from the spot.

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Michy Batshuayi v Issa Diop

Young Frenchman Issa Diop has been a mainstay in the Hammer defence this season, missing only three games. The imposing centre-back does not sacrifice much quickness for his height and is one of the Premier League’s rising stars. If Palace are to score they must find a way around Diop, because it would be very difficult to go through him.

New Palace player Michy Batshuayi made a brief cameo in his debut last week but still had an impact, setting up Jeffrey Schlupp’s late goal. The Belgian could start this week but if he doesn’t, he will certainly come off the bench again. The Eagles have struggled to score this campaign, and if Batshuayi can start bagging goals, he could propel Palace, not only to victory over West Ham, but towards a top-half finish.

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Email Hunter with your feedback to hjyoung44@outlook.com

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