It’s that time of year again, when thoughts turn to cup glory and the romance and fantastic stories that the FA Cup normally delivers.
None of these were apparent at Upton Park yesterday where an uninventive WHU beat a Wolves team looking for a draw.
The main problem from a hammers perspective was there was no one in the midfield who wanted to go forward until Payet came on. Noble, Song, Zarate, and Obiang were happy to pass it sideways all day long. Zarate tried a couple of shots from distance, and as usual refused to pass to players in better positions. Song and Noble seemed to be trying to make the perfect pass through defence with little success. All in all, this left Jelavic isolated and he lost interest pretty early on.
What also didn’t help was that Wolves played with 8 players back most of the time, which as Sheffield United demonstrated to Man U yesterday, is a little frustrating. This surprised me ,as they had some good breaks, and made the space, but then ran out of people to pass to due to them all being in their own penalty box.
It will not surprise anyone to know the first shot on target for either team was in the 16th minute.
Finally , Payet and Carroll were introduced and the game changed, for the better. It’s amazing how Payet lifts the whole team to play better. With 5 minutes to go, Carroll laid off the ball for Jelavic to smash in a great half volley.
So , we are in the hat for the next round, but will have to up our game to progress in this competition.
MOTM (after my slagging of the midfield) was Pedro Obiang. He kept breaking up play through tackling and sharp reading of the opposition passes.