Marcus Braddock looks ahead to the Emirate FA Cup trip to West Ham
It's cup time and if anyone thinks we seem to be in the cup every other game they're correct and by the time we play our Football League Trophy game next week it will have been four in seven. Tonight sees Shrewsbury Town down in the smoke at the Olympic Park against the Hammers and with three thousand Salopians in attendance it's a big night. In the time since the original game at Montgomery Waters Meadow, Town have played two won one and lost one whilst United have won once at Huddersfield in a 4-1 win on Saturday. This is the Hammers first home game since they beat West Brom four games ago and the first of three games at home in seven days.
Many of us will remember David Moyes from his time here as a player in the 1990's, my memory is of a committed, battler who could also play a bit. His history as a manager is pretty well known, he started with Preston, made his name with Everton and showed courage in taking on Manchester United at one of the most difficult times in their recent history. In the end, his 52 games with United may not have been anywhere near enough to sort things out but the pressure intensified the situation and they parted company.
His move to Spain and Real Sociedad looked a good one at the time, a fresh challenge and all that but patchy form saw him leave after just a year. A season at Sunderland followed, another courageous decision but like a few others, he wasn't able to sort out the problems at the Stadium of Light in the short time given. His appointment at West Ham could end up a good one, he has good backing, a broad supporter base and a new stadium in the Olympic park.
Top Scorers (cup goals in brackets)
Marko Arnautovic 5
Javier Hernandez 4
Andre Ayew 3 (3)
Diafra Sakho 2 (2)
Manuel Lanzini 5
Aaron Creswell 4
Six in twenty-two Premier League games, two of which came from away games. Two from four League cup games.
Goal Distribution (Premier League games only)
The Hammers have only played ten home games this season compared to thirteen played away and based on those ten games, the first 45 minutes of games have been the poorer with 25% of their goals scored and 60% of their goals conceded. The second half is much better with two goals scored in the first fifteen minutes, three in the second and four in the third
Referee - Jeremy Simpson from Lancashire. Games this season: 26. Yellow Cards: 110. Red Cards: 5.
Assistants: Ian Hussin and Akil Howson.
Fourth Official: James Linington
Andy Carroll and Chicharito both look set to miss out for West Ham with the latter being sent home from training because of illness yesterday.
Town have no new injury worries.
Here we go again then, yet another big game in a season of big games. West Ham are favourites for a reason, they've been playing some decent football since David Moyes hit his stride and with home advantage it's difficult to see us pulling it off. We need a big performance if we want to progress but we know they can do that. I'm pretty sure we've not beaten top flight opposition in the FA Cup since the Everton game, although we did beat Leicester at their place in the League Cup a season or three ago, so these things do happen occasionally!