Premier League

Crystal Palace 2-3 West Ham: Player ratings as superb Hammers go fourth

Toby Cudworth
Soucek's bullet header levelled the scores
Soucek's bullet header levelled the scores / STEVEN PASTON/Getty Images

A superb display of attacking football from West Ham handed them a thoroughly deserved 3-2 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Tuesday evening.

The Hammers actually got off to the worst possible start, as Wilfried Zaha fired a wonderful effort past Lukasz Fabianski with only three minutes on the clock. But the lead didn't last long as Pablo Fornals and Michail Antonio combined to provide Tomas Soucek with the opportunity to power home a header from close range.

West Ham celebrate Craig Dawson's goal
West Ham celebrate Craig Dawson's goal / Clive Rose/Getty Images

From then on, West Ham took control of the game and really could have been three of four up by half-time. As it was, they went into the break leading 2-1, after Soucek latched onto Aaron Cresswell's free kick to control nicely and fire home from an acute angle.

Antonio missed a handful of chances - hitting the post twice - but there was no stopping Craig Dawson's towering header from Jarrod Bowen's exquisitely delivered corner. Michy Batshuayi bagged a stoppage-time consolation but it was a worrying night for Roy Hodgson's Palace, as the defensive frailties that reared their ugly head in the 7-0 home thumping by Liverpool came to the fore once more.

In truth, it could and should have been more for West Ham. Here's your ratings for both sets of players.

Crystal Palace

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

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Vicente Guaita (GK) - 8/10 - Produced an array of wonderful reaction saves to keep Palace in the game. Nothing he could do with West Ham's first or third goal, but may feel that he should have kept out Soucek's second.

Joel Ward (RB) - 5/10 - A bit overrun at times as Palace struggled to stave off West Ham's relentless waves of attack.

Cheikhou Kouyate (CB) - 5/10 - Sometimes Kouyate looks solid as a rock, other times he looks all over the place. Couldn't cope with West Ham's movement and his lack of communication with Cahill was highlighted by a sickening clash of heads.

Gary Cahill (CB) - 6/10 - Had a slightly better night than his partner in central defence, but Cahill's experience wasn't enough to organise Palace and nullify West Ham's threat.

Tyrick Mitchell (LB) - 6/10 - Still learning his craft and arguably had a better night than Ward on the other flank. Needs to offer more of an outlet going forward.

2. Midfielders

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Andros Townsend (RM) - 5/10 - Not a great game for Townsend, who failed to run with the ball once. Subbed on the hour mark as Roy Hodgson looked to halt West Ham's momentum.

James McArthur (CM) - 6/10 - Always busy in the heart of midfield but failed to track West Ham's runs inside. Found it difficult to progress the ball forward effectively, but grew into the game late on.

Luka Milivojevic (CM) - 6/10 - Recycled play nicely but his lack of pace often allowed Benrahma a free run at Palace's back four.

Eberechi Eze (LM) - 5/10 - Couldn't get into the game as West Ham dominated after drawing level. Switched to the right in an attempt to get back into the game but no real improvement.

3. Forwards

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Christian Benteke (ST) - 6/10 - Did well to link up with Zaha for the goal but struggled to impose himself as West Ham dominated.

Wilfried Zaha (ST) - 7/10 - Fabulous movement and quick feet for his opening goal. Frustrated by Palace's inability to keep the ball and missed a glorious opportunity to level the scores.

4. Substitutes

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Michy Batshuayi (ST) - 6/10 - Neat finish in stoppage time earned the Belgian his first goal since returning to the club.

Jairo Riedewald (CM) - 6/10 - Came on to provide fresh legs in midfield, and played a role in Batshuayi's goal.

Jordan Ayew (ST) - 6/10 - Loves playing against West Ham, so perhaps surprising he didn't come on sooner than 70 minutes in. Lovely flick to assist Batshuayi's goal.

West Ham

5. Goalkeeper & Defenders

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Lukasz Fabianski (GK) - 6/10 - Couldn't do anything about Zaha's early opener but made a superb save from him early in the second period. Concede that and the game could have turned.

Vladimir Coufal (RB) - 7/10 - Kept more on his toes by Eze after a fairly quiet opening 45 minutes. As stoic and resilient as ever, looking like he could run all day if asked to. Decent outlet going forward.

Craig Dawson (CB) - 7/10 - Engaged in a war of words with Zaha in the first half and generally kept the Ivorian quiet. Crazy to think his signing was viewed as a disaster in the summer, capping another decent display with a great headed goal.

Angelo Ogbonna (CB) - 6/10 - Uncharacteristically lunged in and failed to dispossess Zaha on the edge of the box, who subsequently fired in the opener. Not his finest hour but relatively solid.

Aaron Cresswell (LB) - 7/10 - Lovely delivery for Soucek's second goal, something that he is incredibly consistent with. Responsible for some superb referee cursing in the first half, eloquently delivered in his thick Merseyside accent.

6. Midfielders

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Declan Rice (CM) - 7/10 - Recycled possession superbly, keeping things simple to allow the damage to be done further upfield. May feel he could have closed the space down quicker for Zaha's opener.

Tomas Soucek (CM) - 9/10 - Deserves a lifetime supply of potato salad and whatever else he wants in life. Superb box-to-box midfield performance, capped with two goals of real instinct and knowledge of how play may unfold.

Said Benrahma (AM) - 7/10 - Dribbled well with the ball and was always looking to fashion opportunities. Really needs a goal but another promising showing.

7. Forwards

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Jarrod Bowen (RF) - 7/10 - Probably the least effective player going forward, but his willingness to cut inside and drop off allowed Antonio and Benrahma to roam in behind and find space. Outstanding delivery for Dawson's third.

Michail Antonio (ST) - 7/10 - Is such a threat up front, running endlessly into the channels or coming deep to get the ball. Gave Kouyate and Cahill a real runaround, only negative was he could - and perhaps should - have scored four himself.

Pablo Fornals (LF) - 7/10 - Superb flicked pass allowed Antonio to cross for Soucek's opener. Linked up nicely and moved seamlessly across the field to pick up pockets of space.

8. Substitutes

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Ryan Fredericks (RB) - N/A

Andriy Yarmolenko (ST) - N/A

Mark Noble (CM) - N/A

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