Crystal Palace-West Ham United Preview
If West Ham United are to continue their recent success, they must do so for the immediate future without their top offensive performer.
With star Marko Arnautovic shelved for a month because of a muscle injury, the Hammers try for a third consecutive Premier League victory Saturday against Crystal Palace at London's Olympic Stadium.
West Ham (5-3-7) have earned at least one point in five of their last six Premier League matches, but they were dealt a serious blow when Arnautovic was injured in Tuesday's 3-1 victory over Cardiff City. It's a potentially serious hit to West Ham, considering the Austrian is tied for the team lead with five goals over all competitions and is truly the heart of their attack form.
"He will probably be out around a month," manager Manuel Pellegrini told West Ham's official website. "We know Marko is a top player. We know how important he is. He adds a lot to the team."
It's likely more of the offensive burden could fall on the shoulders of Felipe Anderson, who shares the scoring lead with Arnautovic. Lucas Perez, who scored twice against Cardiff, also should see on uptick in field time due to this situation.
"We know (Perez is) a good striker and the important thing is, when he has a chance, he takes it," Pellegrini added. "With Marko's injury, we have Lucas in this position."
The gaffer also stated that veteran Jack Wilshere is not fit to play Saturday, whilst Andy Carroll hopes he's fit for more minutes going forward.
The Hammers, who sit 13th in the table, last won three consecutive Premier League contests in December 2016.
"We're focusing on Crystal Palace. … So we're ready for them on Saturday," 20-year-old West Ham midfielder Grady Diangana said. "It's a team effort, everyone's doing their part. As the manager says every day, we need the whole squad to play a part and it's going well."
Things have not gone all that well for Palace (3-3-9), who are two spots down the table from West Ham. The Eagles did earn four points in games at Manchester United and Burnley prior to Tuesday's 3-1 loss at Brighton & Hove Albion.
"Nothing we can do or say now can affect anything, we've just got to make certain we can affect going forward," manager Roy Hodgson told Crystal Palace's official website. "We have to make sure we get a result at West Ham.
"It's a derby, a London derby. A team close to us, a team we enjoy playing and respect enormously. I think always after defeat; most teams won't feel good about what's just gone (on) and they'll want to feel good again. You don't want defeat to happen again. But West Ham want to win as well, and West Ham have a good team."
The latter is true, especially in the case of this derby, where the Hammers are amidst a 3-3-0 stretch in the series. However, the sides drew twice during Premier League action during the 2017-18 campaign.
Updated December 6, 2018