Crystal Palace 0-1 West Ham
Manuel Lanzini's first half strike ensured West Ham grabbed a crucial win the hard way to sink Crystal Palace on a blustery night.
After a scrappy start to the match in which neither side could assert their dominance, the visitors took the opportunity to create a chance through the returning Aaron Cresswell. The full back had bombed forward to latch on to Pedro Obiang's lofted ball, but his shot only met the side-netting.
Dimitri Payet breathed into life soon after, with his whipped cross evading Michail Antonio before his second cross was met by the head of Zaza - the Italian could only guide his header wide in the torrential rain.
The Hammers didn't have to wait too long before they did break the deadlock though, as an intricate pattern of passes between Payet and Cresswell resulted in Manuel Lanzini popping up six yards from goal to round off a wonderful team move. The away side deservedly led thanks to the diminutive Argentine's third career goal against the Eagles.
Palace looked a little short of ideas in attack, much to the frustration of the deafening support in attendance at Selhurst Park. Zaza was again a thorn in the side of the Palace defence, heading off target from Cresswell's free kick and Payet's subsequent cross.
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As the half-time whistle beckoned, Alan Pardew's men suddenly burst into life, threatening to draw level before the break. First, Christian Benteke won a penalty after being bundled down by Ogbonna, however the Belgian blazed wide under the slippery conditions. Just a minute later though, the imposing striker almost atoned for his error, as the ex-Liverpool man's header agonisingly rattled against the post.
Payet wasted a golden chance to double the Hammers' advantage shortly after the restart, with his shot blocked after Palace 'keeper Mandanda found himself stranded in no man's land. For all their dominance in the first period, West Ham were content to sit back and invite pressure from the crossing of Townsend and Puncheon, as Benteke also continued to be a nusiance for the likes of Ogbonna and Reid.
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Townsend raced down the left flank before cutting in and curling an effort on target, though Adrian was more than equal to it. Wilfried Zaha had a penalty shout waved away, as replays showed the winger had his shirt tugged on by Cresswell. It wasn't to deter the hosts' attacking mood though, as Pardew subbed on Connor Wickham to partner with Benteke at the focal point of the 4-4-2.
The goal continued to elude the Belgian though, as a handful of missed opportunities continued to haunt the £32m man. The visitors still led though, and could have wrapped up the three points in the 74th minute, as a trademark header from Antonio struck the same post Benteke had hit earlier.
A bizarre turn of events put the game entirely in the home side's hands, as Cresswell received two quick-fire yellow cards for simulation and a foul on Zaha. The ten men of West Ham still had a long ten minutes of relentless pressure to endure before they could breath a sigh of relief.
On another day, most would have expected Christian Benteke to snatch at least one goal from the multitude of chances created on the night, but it was not to be the home side's night, as West Ham ran out eventual winners on a borderline tempestuous night at Selhurst Park.