It's never a quiet day at the office at the London Stadium these days and once again the Hammers have found themselves thrust into the headlines. The news that Dimitri Payet is refusing to play or train has come as a bit of a shock although those that have been watching closely have noticed a drop in his performance levels of late. We're not here to discuss players and their politics but Payet's behaviour is very poor and hopefully he will eave the club sooner rather than later.
Such an incident can have an interesting effect on the team, hopefully it will galvanise a few, though on the other side of the coin there could be some who are also feeling the same way or are now looking to leave. A tricky game against relegation strugglers Crystal Palace will give us a sense of where the club are in the post Payet era. There will certainly be no new signings to look forward to before the game.
Palace are on their second ex-Hammer's manager of the season in the not unsubtstantial form of Sam Allardyce, having discarded Alan Pardew some weeks ago. They are yet to win under Big Sam and a 1-2 home defeat against Swansea was somewhat unexpected.
Players Missing - Key player and 3rd top scorer Wilfred Zaha is at the Africa Nations Cup and will not play. The following players have slight knocks - Hennessey, C Benteke, Dann and Macarthur. All key players but some if not all may pass late fitness tests in a game Palace will think they can take 3 points from.
The Hammers are coming back from 0-8 aggregate scores against the two Manchester clubs at home and badly need to turn this around.
Players Missing - Michail Antonio is likely to be out with a temperature. Andre Ayew and Cheikou Kouyate are at the Africa Cup of Nations. Dimitri Payet will not play.
Predictions - really hard to call this one and very much depends on the attitude of the players and energy of the fans.
I'd go - Both Teams to Score - Yes - 4/6
Over 2.5 goals - Yes - 5/6
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