I’m not going to lie, I am very worried about Saturday. Wigan are flying, top of League One and full of confidence and West Ham, while on a good run, are in Harry Redknapp’s parlance down to the bare bones. The injuries to Lanzini and Arnautovic are bitter blows at this stage of the season combined with the injury issues for Andy Carroll and the uncertainty around Hernandez and Sahko’s future. West Ham’s striking options are limited to say the least. I see the next two games as pivotal to the rest of the season, the FA Cup draw while not ideal is kinder than it has been in the past where West Ham have faced Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool in the early rounds of the FA Cup in recent years. Crystal Palace are our opponents on Tuesday and they have enjoyed a similar recovery from a dire situation although they were well beaten at Arsenal at the weekend, Roy Hodgson has them organised and playing to their strengths.
West Ham played well against Bournemouth but couldn’t finish the game off, my worry is that Moyes has found a system that suits the players, he has us set up to maximise the talents of Lanzini and Arnautovic, can we play a different way to maximise the talents of Hernandez? Ayew is not a viable option as an out and out striker but I would imagine he will start behind Hernandez on Saturday and having seen the two of them play against Shrewsbury it does not fill me with confidence, of course there is Martinez who is young and raw and looked a little bit out of his depth in the replay, he will play some part in the next two games.
I expect that Moyes will play as many of the youngsters as he can against Wigan; Rice, Cullen and Burke will play and I am excited to see how they do. They are all more than capable and now will have a chance to step up in what I feel is a vital game in the context of our season.
It is such a shame that the money in the game dictates that managers prioritise finishing 17th in the Premier League than an FA Cup run, honestly if I was allowed to choose which game West Ham could win, I would choose Saturday’s, it will be 38 years since our last FA Cup win this May. It would be massive for the club to win some silverware, it’s what the fans want, it’s why a huge away support will be in Wigan on Saturday hoping West Ham can keep the dream alive.
Saturday will be about application first, West Ham will need to do the dirty things right if they are going to get any kind of result. Wigan should not be underestimated, they are a good side and full of confidence, hopefully West Ham’s blend of youth and experience will prove too much for the League One side.