It is fair to say that domestic cup competitions have lost a considerable amount of their allure in recent years. European and league fixtures tend to take precedence for “bigger” clubs these days, resulting in the fielding of youth and inexperienced players for the earlier rounds. For the likes of Man City and Liverpool who have such demanding schedules, this is quite understandable. Yet for fans, it can be quite disappointing not to see the likes of Sadio Mané do it on a cold, rainy night in Lincolnshire.
West Ham however do not have European fixture congestion to contend with. As such, there is no real reason why Moyes shouldn’t be aiming for silverware right from the off. As well as giving the likes of Coventry and Johnson opportunities, the cup competitions can be used to rebuild the confidence of our key players. Having scored twice against Charlton, a run of good form in cup games could see Haller find his feet in the league. The same can be said for Felipe Anderson, who is unquestionably a handful for any defence on his day. Having lost 1-0 at home to West Brom in the FA Cup and being trounced 4-0 by Oxford United in the League Cup last season, Moyes and the players will surely be looking for redemption.
Tuesday evening will see the Hammers go into second round League Cup action against recently relegated Hull City. Despite recent relegation from the championship, the Tigers have already knocked out Sunderland and Leeds this season and will be looking to build upon their recent league victory against Gillingham. Hull are no strangers to cup competition success, having finished runners-up to Arsenal in the FA Cup in a close-run 3-2 affair in 2014. West Ham meanwhile, have failed to reach a cup final since their 2006 appearance against Liverpool. Fans will remember to forget Steven Gerrard’s audacious equalizing volley. As for the League cup, it has been almost 40 years since the Hammers finished runners-up. Despite an opening goal from the prolific Paul Goddard in the replay, West Ham were once again bested by the men in red thanks to the efforts of Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen.
With the current controversies surrounding the owners impacting all aspects of the club, a win in the cup has the potential to divert fan attention towards more positive matters, albeit momentarily. More importantly, a good performance Tuesday night could carry over into the weekend’s fixture against Wolves. Here’s hoping for further cup progression, more promising youth displays and a few goals for Haller. COYI!
Written by: Graham Keeffe