Crystal Palace re-energised as woeful West Ham embarrassed in David Moyes low

New low: David Moyes was staggered by his West Ham team’s performance in a 5-2 loss against Crystal Palace (Action Images via Reuters)
New low: David Moyes was staggered by his West Ham team’s performance in a 5-2 loss against Crystal Palace (Action Images via Reuters)

On London Marathon Sunday, West Ham’s race for Europe hit the wall, and hit it hard.

Sluggish and shattered, they were embarrassed by a Crystal Palace side inspired by Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise playing joyous, thrilling football under Oliver Glasner’s energised regime.

A 5-2 win gave the Eagles back-to-back Premier League victories for the first time all season, coming hot on the heels of last weekend’s triumph at Anfield, and momentum is building nicely heading into a summer that will be vital in laying the foundations for Glasner’s first full season in charge.

West Ham, though, now look to be in a holding pattern, their season well on its way to fizzling out and the final month set to be defined by the wait for a decision on David Moyes’s future. The Scot insists it will not come until the campaign is done, but it is becoming easier to predict which way the coin will land.

For his team, whose hopes of European qualification for a fourth season on the spin have only been kept alive this long by the failings of others, this was surely the day the music died.

Despite having won just three times in 2024, the Hammers came into yet another Sunday somehow only a victory away from climbing back into the top six. As seven days ago, though, the opportunity sailed by and surely this time will not come again.

While each of their rivals have at least half-a-dozen matches still to play, West Ham, in eighth, have only four, including against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City, on the final day. On this kind of lifeless showing, you could not fancy them to take points off Bradford City, never mind the favourites for the title.

The feeling, even in the immediate aftermath of Thursday night’s quarter-final exit against Bayer Leverkusen, was that the toll of an admirable, gutsy effort would surely tell here. The Irons’s post-European record has, after all, been nothing to shout about all year, never mind with a small squad on its last legs in the final weeks of the campaign.

Still, if the excuse came ready-made then it was to West Ham’s great shame that from almost the first minute they appeared so willing to grasp it.

So poor, so stand-offish were the visitors that even the more passive Palace of the Roy Hodgson vintage may have been unable to resist tucking in, but it seems doubtful that they would have had the confidence to capitalise as fully as they did here in surging into a 4-0 lead in little more than half an hour.

The front three of Eze, Olise and Jean-Philippe Mateta all scored in that burst, as did Emerson into his own net, the Italian ironically one of those brought back in to add freshness to Moyes’s lineup having missed the Leverkusen game through suspension.

Eze, in particular, was untouchable, spinning and gliding his way beyond West Ham players on the rare occasions when they bothered to get near. Not content with being the best player on the pitch, the Englishman took to the skies to double the Palace lead with a magnificent bicycle kick on the quarter-hour.

Olise was not far behind, having already headed the opener when laying on the fourth for Mateta. On an afternoon when Moyes might have hoped the individual brilliance of Lucas Paqueta and Mohammed Kudus would provide a route to victory for his knackered side, the Scot saw his star duo unequivocally upstaged. It is the great regret of Palace’s season that their own have started together only six times all term.

Michail Antonio marked his 250th Premier League appearance with what felt like the earliest of consolation goals just before half-time, but it is indicative of Moyes’s depth problem that this was the 34-year-old’s fourth start in 10 days.

Despite troubling the scoresheet, the Jamaican, like every visiting player, traded second-best against his opposite number: it was Mateta who capped the rout, latching onto another Eze pass to steer home his second and Palace’s fifth.

Not even Dean Henderson’s late clanger, noted as an unfortunate Tyrick Mitchell own goal, could take the shine off the home side’s day.