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West Ham have set their own bar and now they must maintain it

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What a weekend it has been in the FA Cup—strong teams have been dumped out by their lower league counterparts, red cards and goals were flying around, and the magic of the cup has been confirmed as being alive and well.
 
West Ham were fortunate not to be victims of the Great Cupset Weekend, and instead managed to win their game against Bristol City to move on to the next round of the cup. As West Ham were the first team of the top ten to enter into the Fifth Round of the FA Cup and many of the ‘big clubs’ have fallen out already, you can’t help but wonder – is this our year? Could we actually be in for a chance to not only enjoy a good cup run, but actually win a trophy?
 
There’s certainly some potential for us. With clubs like Chelsea, Spurs, Southampton and Manchester City out, and Manchester United and Liverpool held to draws by lower league opposition and still requiring replays, we are one of the few Premier League clubs still involved in the competition – and only one of two of the top ten teams through to the 5th round.
 
You can almost feel the potential for claret and blue glory surging through your veins. We are overdue a good FA Cup run, and that we are making firm headway through the competition is good news.
 
There’s only one thing that can stop us from winning the cup – and it’s us.
 
We were awful against Bristol City. It was a hideous game. We played a team two leagues lower than us, and gave professional Hammers-hater and BBC presenter Gary Lineker the perfect opportunity to bring out a comment about wondering who actually looked like a Premier League side in the first half. He loved it, I hated it – but annoyingly, he wasn’t wrong. Bristol City had some incredible chances, were first to every ball, and our passing – particularly from an Alex Song who cannot be match fit, surely – was atrocious.
 
I’d love to say this style of play was a one-off, but truthfully we’ve snaked by for a few games by putting in a disastrous first half of football and then coming to life in the second half to claim the result. It’s been working for us, in a sense – we are undefeated in our last six games in all competitions – but my goodness is it unpleasant to watch at times.
 
Don’t get me wrong – I’m over the moon to have advanced in the cup and still be but four points off a Champions League place – but I’ve seen how good we can be, and I now don’t want to see anything less than that. By all means, save yourselves and grind out a result if you must, but remember that we were bloody lucky to have Mark Noble and Andy Carroll in the right place at the right time to save our blushes in that game.
 
We absolutely have the skill level and the talent to reach the FA Cup final and potentially win it. We’ve proven this season that we can beat – almost – anyone, and on our day we can be more or less unstoppable. We are absolutely contenders for the cup – and in many ways, our destiny is firmly in our own hands.

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