Crystal Palace vs West Ham result: Wilfried Zaha secures deserved point after Mark Noble's opener

Wilfried Zaha rescued a point for Crystal Palace against West Ham after Mark Noble scored his first Premier League goal of the season and had worked so hard to get his side into the lead.

James McArthur and Michy Batshuayi missed great chances for the Eagles to level the score after the West Ham captain gave the visitors the lead from the spot in the first half. However, Zaha, who returned to the side following an initial one-match ban, struck a timely equaliser deep into the second half.

West Ham may have been disappointed to go into the break just one goal ahead, largely through Noble’s experience in midfield to get the visitor’s using their pace on the break.

In recent seasons the West Ham captain and midfielder of 19 years had become something of a hindrance to the side rather than a player to bolster it. It appeared that modern football and the style of play West Ham demanded left him in its wake.

Winning fouls, drawing free kicks and recycling possession with simple passes is hardly going to make a highlight reel but in south London, but at Selhurst Park it certainly helped, especially towards the latter stages of the match when Palace threatened to snatch a late winning goal.

The two attacking formations produced a fast start where both sides created chances with surprising regulatory. The visitors had the better of the opening exchanges and twice went close after Rice and Noble won back possession and began incisive counter-attacks. Robert Snodgrass and Ryan Fredericks both had close-range efforts saved from positions where you might expect them to open the scoring.

A deserved lead eventually came West Ham’s way when Noble opened his scoring account for the season in the 27th minute. Patrick Van Aanholt watched Rice’s lobbed ball over the defence float over him as Michail Antonio span away from the left-back only to be bundled to the ground by Vicente Guaita’s inelegant charge. Noble, in contrast to the Eagles’ defence, kept his composure and sent Guita the wrong way with a low finish to his left.

Palace almost had an immediate way back into the game after the break, but McArthur produced what is surely a clear favourite to be the miss of the season. After some nice one-touch play around the box, McArthur was played behind the defence with enough time and space to assess every option available to him. He had Christian Benteke to his right and Van Aanholt racing to join in with him, but he went alone, swang a tentative right foot at the ball and scooped it off the post a yard in front of Lukasz Fabianski. Selhurst Park could not quite believe what it had just witnessed.

McArthur’s miss was quickly followed by another poor attempt when through on goal, this time by Batshuayi, who had just replaced Benteke to the loudest cheer of the afternoon. The on-loan Chelsea forward, who chose south London over east on deadline day, collected Van Aanholt’s low cross on the turn then dragged an effort from the penalty spot wide with his left foot. Another let-off for West Ham and another very poor piece of finishing from Roy Hodgson’s side.

When two chances like that are not converted the match can safely be filed under ‘not your day’, but Palace had Zaha, who can make it their day in the bleakest of hours. While it was not a vintage display, his improved knack of being well-placed in the box brought Palace back on level terms with a deflected finish from a tight angle.

Wilfried Zaha helped Palace salvage a point (AFP/Getty)
Wilfried Zaha helped Palace salvage a point (AFP/Getty)

Palace’s talisman almost then gave his side the lead, but Fabianski was equal to his effort after he exchanged a neat one-two with Max Meyer.

A win for either side would have been a bonus, perhaps they will both claim it should be them leaving the stadium with three points instead of one, but the two sides certainly put on an entertaining show, playing exciting football with real attacking intent.