We all go on about how football isn’t fair sometimes. Poor refereeing decisions, last minute deflected goals, missed penalties. They can all count against us in a cruel game when results are more important than anything.
But all of that is put in to perspective when you hear of the tragic passing of a young, talented 20-year-old who has lost his battle against testicular cancer.
Dylan Tombides was battler. A winner. An inspiration. But he was cruelly taken away from us yesterday, reminding us all of how precious life is.
So in the scheme of things, today’s result against Crystal Palace shouldn’t really matter. Yes, we need three points to bring us up to that magic 40 point mark, but attention has now turned to ensuring we win for Dylan. That’s all that matters today.
And the players are almost certainly going to be up for it because they haven’t just lost a team mate, they’ve also lost a friend. The fans will also be up for it because we just haven’t lost someone who happens to play for our favourite football team, we’ve lost a member of the West Ham family. He was one of our own.
So that’s why I can’t see past a West Ham victory today. Crystal Palace might be in form and will be high in confidence after their shock 3-2 win at Everton on Wednesday night, but there will be nothing that can stop us making Dylan proud today.
If you are going today, remember that the fans are planning a round of applause at the 38th minute of the game as a mark of respect to Dylan, his friends and his family.
Prediction: A victory for Dylan.
West Ham United (12th 37 points)
Captain Kevin Nolan is expected to return to the side after recovering from a hamstring injury.
James Collins and Joey O’Brien are also expected to return to the squad, but are unlikely to start due to the form of James Tomkins and Guy Demel.
Crystal Palace (11th, 40 points)
Marouane Chamakh, Yannick Bolasie and Joel Ward are all doubtful through injury, but Adrian Mariappa is expected to feature despite breaking his nose against Everton earlier this week.
Last 10 meetings:
Match in Numbers:
6 – West Ham have lost six games from winning positions this season
8 – The Hammers have not kept a clean sheet in eight league matches
4 – Sam Allardyce’s side are unbeaten in their last four home league matches against Palace
3 – A win for Palace would give them a new club record of three consecutive top-flight away wins.
4 – Palace winger Jason Puncheon has scored four goals in his last three games
@WestHamWorld 4-0 win players will be fired up After the loss of tombides
— jack simpson (@elbartowhufc) April 19, 2014
— LiamCheek (@LiamCheek11) April 19, 2014
@WestHamWorld 3-1 hammers
— Daniel Hossack (@dan_hossack) April 19, 2014
Head-to-Head (all competitions):
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