Saturday, 19 April 2014

Hammers Enter the Crystal Maze


What is going on? Palace were no hopers when Pulis took over - with only seven points and sinking fast under the likeable, if occasionally foolish, Ian Holloway. Suddenly they are safe and, even worse, arrive at the Boleyn having already overcome the Hammers finest efforts earlier in the season and also on the back of a whopping four straight victories (is that a record for the Eagles in the top flight?)

Truly Tony Pulis deserves recognition for his immense efforts to transform an apparently  substandard squad into genuine Premiership contenders. Depending on Brendan Rodgers ultimate achievements, Pulis may have earned manager of the season!

The key to Pulis' success has been a familiar one - excellent organisation at the back, and fast counterattacking - perfectly set up for today's clash where the Hammers will be looking to dominate and must be careful not to get caught on the break.

And then there's Maroanne Chamakh - abject at Arsenal, hopeless at West Ham, and now a reasonable attacking option, and as Hammers fans will recall, the difference between the sides when they met in December. Interestingly, West ham have only one one of their last 6 matches with the Eagles. Even stranger, only 4 of their starting XI in December will start today.

Our prediction is that Big Sam will be looking for revenge and knows the Pulis method only too well to be fooled into playing too far forward against a side that relies upon space when they break from defence for most of their goals. Despite both sides apparent safety from any relegation fears, we expect a dour affair between two chess grandmasters who will relish the opportunity to outwit eachother in a game of attrition.

Hmmmm: 1-1. Carroll and Chamakh to score.

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