West Ham United may have struggled to overcome Everton in the FA Cup third round, relying on goalkeeper Adrian to convert his penalty in the shootout after the Toffees had held them to a 2-2 draw in the replay, but they are now in a great position to lift a first major trophy since 1980.
The Hammers only just secured a narrow 1-0 victory over Bristol City in the fourth round, but the number of big names to have already fallen in this year’s competition (Chelsea, Man City, Tottenham and Southampton are all out) will place them amongst the favourites.
Highlights- West Ham v Everton FA Cup
Having been drawn against struggling West Bromwich Albion in the fifth round, the odds of a Hammers cup win could yet come in further if they do well and their rivals continue to fall by the wayside. You can keep track of them with Blue Square, and as you can already see, the odds for Sam Allrdyce’s team are far better than what they were just a week ago.
Tony Pulis’ side have endured a difficult season so far and will be more focused on Premier League survival than on progressing in the cup. If Big Sam’s team can get in their faces and bully them, as they have with so many other sides this year, then a place in the quarter-final looks destined to be theirs.
West Ham are currently seventh in the Premier League having made a push for the Champions League places earlier in the season. A prolonged stint in the top four always looked unlikely, and West Ham do not have the strongest squad in the Premier League, but Allardyce’s team have shown that they can challenge the top teams in a one-off game.
Their victories over Liverpool and Manchester City before Christmas show what they can achieve when they are at the top of their game and, with the likes of Andy Carroll in their armoury, they will always cause problems.
Without the distraction of a European campaign, a relegation battle or a League Cup challenge to worry about, West Ham are in a position to concentrate all of their attention on the FA Cup and it would come as no surprise to see them very much in the hunt for a title come May.