Patrick Vieira is confident that it is just a matter of time before the goals start flowing for Crystal Palace after their slow start to the new Premier League season.
The Eagles fired blanks in their 3-0 loss to Chelsea and 0-0 draw with Brentford across the opening two weeks of the campaign, before going down 1-0 to Watford in the EFL Cup in midweek.
Recently-appointed Palace boss Vieira is hoping to add some more attacking players to his ranks before the transfer window closes next week, with Eddie Nketiah one of those to have been linked.
Next up is a trip to London rivals West Ham on Saturday and Vieira, a three-time Premier League winner during his playing days, fully believes in his long-term project.
“When you look at the first game we played in the pre-season and look at how we express ourselves against Watford I think there is an improvement there,” he said.
“I don’t have any doubt about the quality of the team, the quality of the players, the way we want to play. We are really calm, we are only focusing on the way we want to play.
“Those goals will come because players are working well, players are working hard, and we created those chances so it’s just a question of time before we start scoring goals.”
West Ham have started the 2021-22 season with back-to-back wins over Newcastle United and Leicester City, scoring four goals in both matches.
They enter gameweek three top of the table on goal difference, though only twice before – in 1958-59 and 1983-84 – have they opened a league season with three straight wins.
After finishing sixth last season, their highest league placing since 1998-99, boss David Moyes is after a similar level of consistency this time around.
“The plan is to keep winning and get a level of consistency. Last year we showed the best level of consistency we’ve shown for a long time at the club,” he said.
“I think we’re up there in 2021 and we’ve started the season well. The challenge is to keep that going as long as we can.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
West Ham – Michail Antonio
Antonio scored twice in the win against Leicester, the first of those goals seeing him overtake Paolo Di Canio as West Ham’s all-time highest goalscorer in the Premier League. The full-back-turned-striker has now been involved in 10 goals in his last nine top-flight appearances, scoring six times and setting up four more for his team-mates.
Crystal Palace – Wilfried Zaha
If the goals are to start flowing for Palace, as Vieira believes they will, then the Eagles quite simply need Zaha to regain his form of old. The Ivory Coast international created two chances against Brentford, which was more than any other Palace player, but he has yet to register a shot on target in 2021-22.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– West Ham won 3-2 in their last Premier League meeting with Crystal Palace – only once before have they won consecutive matches against the Eagles in the competition, winning both games in the 2016-17 campaign.
– After losing their first two Premier League away games against West Ham, Palace have lost just two of their subsequent eight visits to the Hammers in the competition (W3 D3).
– Both teams have scored in each of the last eight Premier League meetings between West Ham and Crystal Palace. Only against Chelsea (nine) have West Ham had a longer run of both scoring and conceding against an opponent in the competition, while it is the Eagles’ joint-longest such run (also eight v Liverpool).
– Palace are winless in their last 10 Premier League London derby matches (D5 L5), scoring just seven goals and conceding 19 in these matches.
– West Ham have the highest expected goals figure of any Premier League side after two games this season (5.3), while their eight goals scored is their most after two games of a top-flight campaign since 1930-31 (nine).