The London rivals are only separated by one point after their opening seven matches and are among the pack looking to profit on the struggles of at least half of the big six.
West Ham sit fifth in the table following a six-game unbeaten run and there is increasing hope, if not yet genuine belief, that they may be able to sustain this lofty position.
The Hammers have finished between 13th and 10th in six of the last seven seasons but seem better equipped than ever to break out from mid-table mediocrity, and match if not improve on their seventh-place finish from the Dimitri Payet-inspired 2015-16 campaign.
Andriy Yarmolenko is growing into the Payet role quite nicely with three goals in four matches, a reminder of his talents after an injury-hit debut year in England. Defender Aaron Cresswell has also discovered some scoring form with two in two, including the equaliser in last weekend's draw at Bournemouth.
After leaking five on the opening day to Manchester City, Manuel Pellegrini's side have tightened things up at the London Stadium, keeping successive clean sheets in wins over Norwich City and Manchester United. The double midfield pivot of Declan Rice and Mark Noble is starting to become a formidable first line of an improving defence, albeit one which will have to contend without influential goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski for a couple of months due to a hip injury.
Palace have won three and drawn one of their previous five matches, and although most of that success has come at home, they do already hold a win at Old Trafford on their away record this season.
The Eagles are only a 95th-minute Diogo Jota equaliser away from being in the top four, having been tipped to struggle in pre-season in the aftermath of the sale of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and the escape attempts of Wilfried Zaha.
Zaha has yet to hit the net this season and is prone to long barren spells. The Ivory Coast international went 18 matches without scoring last year despite ending the campaign with 10 goals. This may be a concern for Hodgson whose other forwards are far from prolific.
Palace have yet to taste victory at the London Stadium in four visits and are winless in their last eight against West Ham with four defeats and four draws. Another worrying omen is their 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur in their last London derby.
West Ham form: WWDWLD
Crystal Palace form: WDWLDW
Roberto Jimenez is poised for his full Premier League debut deputising for Fabianski in the Hammers goal but the 33-year-old, a free transfer acquisition in the summer, is an experienced understudy.
Palace are without captain Luka Milivojevic who last weekend became the first Premier League player of the season to tot up five yellow cards. His absence creates room for Andros Townsend, a scorer in the 2-0 win over Norwich last time out, to be recalled after two games on the bench, with Jeffrey Schlupp dropping deeper into midfield.
Mamadou Sakho remains a doubt with the muscle strain which kept him out against Norwich, but Hodgson is blessed with depth at centre-back where Martin Kelly has been getting the nod over James Tomkins and Scott Dann as Gary Cahill's partner.
West Ham possible starting lineup: Jimenez; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Noble; Yarmolenko, Lanzini, Anderson; Haller
Crystal Palace possible starting lineup: Guaita; Ward, Cahill, Kelly, Van Aanholt; McArthur, Kouyate, Schlupp; Zaha, Townsend, Ayew
We say: West Ham 2-0 Crystal Palace
This is set up to be a good contest as West Ham will fancy their chances of controlling the game while Palace will be happy to try to hit the Irons on the counter-attack.
The first goal will be crucial as any cushion will allow the visitors to retreat into their strong defensive shape, but if the Hammers get it they have the superior quality to pick off Palace in a more open game.
body check tags ::