The Blind Hammer Column
*Blind Hammer argues that the Cup is our priority *
The preoccupation with Arnautovic possible Sulking, the will he or won’t he depart saga and speculation on his “state of mind risk obscuring the real current priorities for West Ham.
The strategic opportunity for our club is that for the first time since Bilic’s first season we can approach the FA Cup as our top priority.
It is rare indeed for our club to sit in the league in January without any fear of relegation.
I am dismayed then when I see speculation for the team against AFC Wimbledon as more akin to that expected for a pre-season friendly.
In the past few days some have argued it is an opportunity to give Fredericks a “run out”. Some suggest that this is an ideal game to “try out” Silva up front. I have even read on Claret and Hugh that there is an idea that Oxford be “tried out” in order to possibly enhance his transfer value.
The assumption is that AFC Wimbledon will be brushed aside whatever team we put out. The belief is that we should reserve our “big guns” for the game against Wolves next Tuesday.
This is massively arrogant thinking. The type of thinking which underpins so many of our FA Cup exits at the hands of lower league opposition.
Less we forget, in the tie in the League cup, a few months ago, Wimbledon easily breached our defence early. They held this lead for the majority of the game. It was only in the late stages that we eventually managed to overcome and progress. The game was much closer than the final score indicated.
Wimbledon exerted massive effort and we should expect nothing less for Saturday. The prominence of the fixture, on a Saturday evening reflects the belief amongst TV companies, at least, that there could be a “shock”.
If we are complacent and fail to turn up with our A team mentality then we will deserve any reverse we receive.
This season nearly half the PL has already departed the FA Cup. Depending on the draw, with some more potential for PL clubs to be drawn against each other, we could have one of the most open FA Cups in years.
A humbling by Wimbledon of our “reserves” would make this even more frustrating.
We have a squad riven with injuries and Pellegrini does needs to manage this. Despite this I would far prefer “experiments” and “try outs” to appear against Wolves.
We need our A team for the Cup.