By Adefunmiloye Alani

28th Aug, 2021 | 6:10pm

Paul Merson praises Michail Antonio ahead of Crystal Palace clash

West Ham United were held to a 2-2 draw by Crystal Palace at home on Saturday evening, with Michail Antonio continuing his impressive form in front of goal.

The 31-year-old assisted Pablo Fornals’ opener before briefly restoring the Hammers lead with a strike, and he has now been involved in seven Premier League goals in just three games this term.

Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson was discussing Antonio ahead of the Palace clash, insisting he would not be keen to play against the West Ham striker if he were a centre-back.

“I’m a massive fan, I really am,” he said on Sky Sports prior to kick-off (as shared on Football Daily Twitter account).

“I like everything about him as I say. If I’m a centre half I do not want to play against him.”

Massive player

Antonio has four goals and three assists to his name in the new Premier League season so far, and if the Hammers can manage to keep him fit all season, a top-four finish could be possible.

West Ham’s leading goalscorer in the history of the English top-flight is a menace for defenders to play against, and the Palace backline had no answers for him today.

While manager David Moyes would have loved to pick up all three points against the Eagles, getting a draw was a fair result.

The hosts’ defence was not particularly impressive, with Craig Dawson struggling in the second half.

West Ham cannot wait to get Kurt Zouma in and throw him immediately into action after the international break, but signing the Chelsea centre-back may not be enough as they need depth in attack too.

Despite his heroics, Antonio needs a quality cover that can produce the goods in his absence, and the Irons need to get one in before Tuesday’s deadline.

In other West Ham news, the Hammers want compromise to push major signing over the line.

Be sure to follow West Ham Zone on Facebook and Twitter for 24/7 updates on the Hammers and more exclusive interviews with Frank McAvennie.