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  • By Yann Tear at Selhurst Park

Soucek double paves the way for impressive Hammers, as Eagles falter

Crystal Palace (1) 2 (Zaha 3, Batshuayi 90)

West Ham United (2) 3 (Soucek 9, 25, Dawson 65)

West Ham made it six wins in a row – four in the Premier League – after turning in a polished performance at Selhurst Park.

They trailed to an early strike from Wilfried Zaha, but grew in stature, with Tomas Soucek netting twice.

Craig Dawson’s second-half goal snuffed out any real chance of a Palace comeback, although Michy Batshuayi pulled a goal back with virtually the last kick of the game.

It’s now one win in 10 matches for Roy Hodgson’s men who need to rediscover some form soon if they are to avoid getting dragged into a relegation race.

Palace started so brightly in what turned out to be a thrilling early-evening contest in the rain - Zaha drilling in his ninth of the season from the edge of the area after a clever one-two with Christian Benteke.

But Soucek levelled with a close-range header six minutes later after Michail Antonio had hooked back Pablo Fornals’ chip to the byline, and then he got on the end of a cleverly angled Aaron Cresswell free-kick to score at the far post.

A VAR check confirmed that any suspicions of offside or hand ball were incorrect.

The Czech Republic midfielder has an uncanny knack of timing good runs into the area to get on the end of moves and his second was his eighth of the campaign.

Moments after the Hammers had gone in front, Antonio should have extended the lead, but having raced onto a mishit from Cheikhou Kouyate, the Hammers striker failed to profit, firing a low shot against the far post.

Before the half was out, Antonio had smacked the same post, diverting a low shot from Cresswell towards the bottom corner of Vicente Guaita’s goal.

Antonio had another gilt-edged chance just before the hour, when Said Benrahma’s silky skills and pull-back from the dead-ball line offered an inviting target – but Guaita stood firm to claw the ball away.

However, the Hammers clearly had their tails up, passing crisply and looking increasingly assured. It was no surprise when Dawson nodded in Jarrod Bowen’s inswinging corner to make it 3-1.

Antonio almost diverted a Coufal shot into the net after a ball swung in from the left by Declan Rice had exposed the Eagles again but it was clearly not going to be the frustrated striker’s night.

Zaha and James McArthur both saw good attempts drift just off target after Jordan Ayew and Batshuayi had come on to try and find a way back into the contest but West Ham always looked in control.

Palace: Guaita – Ward, Kouyate, Cahill, Mitchell – Townsend (Batshuayi 66), McArthur, Milivojevic (Riedewald 73), Eze – Benteke (Ayew 73), Zaha. Subs not used: Butland, Van Aanholt, Dann, Ayew, Clyne, McCarthy, Kelly

Hammers: Fabianski – Coufal, Dawson, Ogbonna, Cresswell – Soucek, Rice – Bowen (Fredericks 81), Fornals, Benrahma (Noble 87) – Antonio (Yarmolenko 83). Subs not used: Balbuena, Lanzini, Diop, Martin, Johnson, Odubeko


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