Well it certainly wasn’t pretty but who cares? On a weekend of FA Cup shocks which finally gave the old cliché ‘the magic of a cup’ some actual substance, West Ham managed to avoid being eleventh Premier League side to bite the dust at the Fourth Round stage.
It was always going to be the case that after the heroics of Middlesbrough and Bradford City that Bristol City would garner and glean just that little more belief that they too could pull off their own bit of cup magic. And credit to them because in the first-half they looked every inch a side that could put us to the sword and dump us out.
However the opportunity of reaching a Fifth Round without Man City, Chelsea, Southampton or Spurs was just too good an opportunity to miss and whilst previously it would’ve been ‘typical West Ham’ to waste such a glorious chance, there is simply nothing ‘typical’ about West Ham this season. Somehow, someway we’ve found a way to win more often than not this campaign and with the goals we’ve always got in our locker there was always a sense of inevitability that we would punish Bristol City just like Hull City before them for not capitalising whilst they were on top.
Diafra Sakho’s return could hardly have been better timed both in the sense of his introduction to the match but also in the broader sense with a difficult run of fixtures looming in the league. What a timely boost it is to have our top scorer back; Sakho’s 10 goals thus far for a 3.5 million outlay definitely makes him one of the signings of the season and his return could prove crucial as we continue to fight for a European spot and cup progress.
With the billionaires of Manchester and west London out the running not only has a bit of romance returned to the cup (honestly there’s not much romance in City or Chelsea winning it is there?) but we now have a genuine chance as the third highest ranked team left in the competition of lifting the trophy. Of course we’d like to avoid Arsenal and Manchester United (should they overcome Cambridge) but any other side at home and we’d quite rightly fancy ourselves of making the quarters.
Our run of fixtures in the league in all likelihood will extinguish our lingering hopes of a top four finish, however the belief we could end our season at Wembley is only getting stronger.