Upton Park – Tuesday 13th January at 19:45 live on BT Sport 1
Three times FA Cup winners West Ham take on five times winners Everton in tonight’s 3rd round reply. Both teams go into this tie having not won a match in almost a month, West Ham failing to win in their last five and Everton their last 6. With both teams more focused on the league, this is a replay that both Sam Allardyce and Roberto Martinez could do without.
West Ham are still riding high in the Premier League in 7th spot despite their last win coming against Leicester before Christmas. The Hammers suffered a couple of defeats over the festive period and haven’t really performed as well as they did for the first half of the season. They’ve had some injury problems which has disrupted them but Allardyce is expected to name his strongest possible team tonight and is only without the injured Diafro Sakho and Cheikhou Kouyate who is on international duty. West Ham have a very good record at home, only losing 1 in their last 9, adding that to the fact Everton have lost their last 5 away league matches and only picking up 2 wins in 11 away from Goodison all season, the Hammers must fancy their chances.
Everton continue to struggle this season and are now just 3 points from the relegation zone in the Premier League. The Toffee’s arguably have a better team on paper than West Ham but have been under performing in the league so far this season. In Europe however, they have played a lot better but can’t seem to replicate their Europa League performances domestically. The Merseysiders have struggled with injuries of late, with Howard, Hibbert, Distin, Osman, Pienaar and Gibson all out. Despite these injuries, they picked up a good point against Man City last weekend and held West Ham at Goodison last week, earning this replay with a late Lukaku strike.
A possible 4th round tie against Doncaster or Bristol City is up for grabs tonight, something both West Ham and Everton will look to as a great opportunity to get through to the 5th round. A good FA Cup run would suit West Ham more than Everton, West Ham could use it to help their season and build more confidence in the league but I see it as an added distraction Everton could do without. They need to improve their league position and have the Europa League to focus on from next month. I think Everton will play to win tonight but I think West Ham will want it more, especially in front of their fans. My recommendation is West Ham -0.25 @ 2.05.
Prices correct at time of writing.
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