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Crystal Palace-West Ham United Preview
Whilst Crystal Palace have enjoyed a relatively solid start to the Premier League season, West Ham United have been even better.
Flirting with a spot in the top-four of the table, the Hammers look to push their unbeaten stretch to seven games and continue some series success over visiting Palace on Sunday at London Stadium.
Since being clobbered 5-0 by defending champions Manchester City at home to open the season, West Ham (3-3-1) have managed to take advantage of a rather favorable fixture list whilst going without a loss in the six Premier League matches that have followed.
None of the teams they've faced since Man City currently sit among the top-seven in the league table, but the Hammers have essentially done what they've needed to do and are in fifth place, tied on 12 points with fourth-spot holders Arsenal.
"I think that we must concentrate and continue to play in the way that we are going now, and try to be a solid team in defending and try to continue scoring goals," manager Manuel Pellegrini, whose team played Bournemouth to a 2-2 road draw last weekend, told West Ham's official website.
"In the way we are playing, I think we are improving a lot, and that's one of the reasons we believe we can (win)."
West Ham last went seven consecutive Premier League matches without a loss in 2015-16, and are amidst a 4-4-0 stretch against Crystal Palace. Yet, the Hammers won't be taking anything for granted in this derby amongst London sides.
"I think it will be a difficult game," said West Ham midfielder Manuel Lanzini, who has four goals in five career Premier League matches versus Palace. "(Crystal Palace) are playing well, and they have some very good players. So, we will need to work hard and keep playing in the way we have been. With the same spirit. We need to take the three points to continue our good start.
"We need to focus on ourselves and on our team. We know we need to respect Palace."
That's because the Eagles (3-2-2) are ninth in the table and coming off a 2-0 victory over newcomers Norwich City last weekend. Luka Milivojevic scored on a first-half penalty and Andros Townsend added some stoppage-time insurance as Palace improved to 2-2-0 at home.
"We dug out well," Townsend told Palace's official website. "It was a good three points."
The focus for the Eagles this weekend will be to improve on the road, where they are 1-0-2 and only scored in that memorable 2-1 victory at Old Trafford in August. Palace, though, could catch a break with Hammers keeper Lukasz Fabianski down with a hip injury.
Spanish backup Roberto is expected take over the net for West Ham, who have not conceded a goal whilst beating Norwich and Manchester United in the two matches at London Stadium that followed the thrashing at the hands of City.
Jordan Ayew leads Palace with two goals in league play, but has not scored since Aug. 31.
Updated October 3, 2019