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Preview: West Ham United vs. Crystal Palace

Sports Mole previews the Premier League clash between West Ham United and Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park as the in-form Eagles go in search of a fifth straight win.

Surprise package Crystal Palace will go in search of a club record-equalling fifth consecutive Premier League win when they travel to West Ham United on Saturday.

The Eagles reeled off five victories on the spin in the competition's inaugural 1992-1993 season, but that was not enough to keep them in the top flight.

Their winning streak this campaign, though, appears certain to result in the Selhurst Park outfit avoiding relegation from the Premier League for the first time in their five attempts.

A 3-2 triumph at Champions League hopefuls Everton on Wednesday took Palace to the magic 40-point milestone and marked a high point in their remarkable turnaround under Tony Pulis.

The Welshman took charge in November with the Londoners joint bottom of the table, but they have since collected 33 points from 22 games to move to within touching distance of a top-half finish.

During this time period, Palace have accumulated more points than any side outside of the current top seven, and only six fewer than Arsenal and four fewer than reigning champions Manchester United.

Victory at Goodison Park in midweek lifted the Eagles above West Ham and into 11th in the table, with the Hammers surrendering a lead to lose 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium 24 hours earlier.

A seven-point gap to the bottom three and a healthy goal difference means that Sam Allardyce's inconsistent side are unlikely to be dragged into trouble with four games of the season remaining.

George McCartney is pushing for a recall at the expense of Pablo Armero at left-back, while midfielder Kevin Nolan could also be fit to feature at Upton Park, with Mohamed Diame a candidate to make way.

Joey O'Brien, Marco Boriello and James Collins remain sidelined, but Andy Carroll is at last injury-free and will be hoping to use the final games of the campaign to press his England World Cup chances.

Palace will have a full squad to choose from if Yannick Bolasie and Kagisho Dikgacoi, who may be recalled to strengthen the midfield, recover from knocks. Thomas Ince is on standby if Pulis needs to make a change.

Jason Puncheon has scored four goals in his last three appearances for the visitors, who are unbeaten in their last five against West Ham in all competitions.

Recent form

West Ham: LLWWLL

Palace: WWWWLD

Possible starting lineups

West Ham: Adrian; Demel, Tomkins, Reid, McCartney; Noble, Nolan, Nocerino; Jarvis, Downing; Carroll

Palace: Speroni; Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward; Jedinak, Dikgacoi, Ledley; Bolasie, Puncheon; Jerome

Sports Mole says: 1-1

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Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger walks off at the end of the Barclays Pemier League match between Stoke City and Arsenal at the Britannia Stadium on March 1, 2014
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City27205256173965
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd27149453322151
3Leicester CityLeicester27155746311550
4Chelsea27138642251747
5Everton2614483933646
6West Ham UnitedWest Ham2613674031945
7Liverpool27127847351243
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs26126842271542
9Aston Villa251231038271139
10Arsenal26114113427737
11Leeds UnitedLeeds26112134344-135
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2797112837-934
13Crystal Palace2797112943-1434
14Southampton2686123144-1330
15Burnley2778121935-1629
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton26511102633-726
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2675142744-1726
18Fulham27411122133-1223
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom2738162056-3617
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2742211643-2714

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