They may have left it late but Angelo Ogbonna’s 121st minute header means that West Ham move three victories away from the FA Cup final, and at the current odds, they look excellent value.
Tuesday night’s fourth round replay victory over Liverpool was the third time in four head-to-heads this season that the Hammers have defeated the Merseyside club.
Awaiting them in the last 16 is a trip north to Blackburn Rovers of the Championship, a side they have not lost against in their most recent 11 clashes.
While they are fancied to triumph on February 21, the better bet might be the 12/1 to go on and lift the trophy at Wembley in three months time.
Here are five reasons why…
It will be target number one
When Bilic took over at the Boleyn at the start of the season his number one priority would have been to keep the side in the Premier League.
Sat in sixth place in the table, that looks assured, and the Croatian manager has already hinted that he will be willing to go all out in this competition to bring some silverware to east London.
All of the teams above them in the betting for the cup are still engaged in either Europe or the Premier League title race (or both) and could well see the tournament as less of a priority.
Someone above them in the betting will fall
Chelsea’s clash with Manchester City means that at least one of the sides at shorter odds than the Hammers will exit the competition in the fifth round.
Tottenham (13/2) also have the tricky prospect of a tie against fellow Premier League side Crystal Palace.
While a trip to Ewood Park will be by no means a walkover, a Jordan Rhodes-less Blackburn side will have been one of the kinder draws the Irons could have got.
Injured attackers are approaching a return
Andy Carroll featured for 45 minutes in the game against Liverpool, and if keeping fit can have a major impact on games late on for the Hammers.
Having been besieged with injuries this season the West Ham squad has some of its most important players to come back.
The likes of Diafra Sakho and Manuel Lanzini could return soon and add even more attacking threat to their ranks and provide plenty of worrying moments for opposition defenders.
They have a new sense of confidence
So far this season Bilic’s men have beaten Liverpool (three times) and defeated Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and picked up a draw at Old Trafford showing that they can be a match for anyone.
The Croatian has got his side playing football that is not only pleasant to watch, but achieves results in the process.
The general feeling amongst the Hammers faithful seems to be one of confidence around the club and the direction that it is taking, and that can only be good for their cup push.
It’s written in the stars…
OK, this reason might be a bit tenuous, but with West Ham set to bid farewell to their home of 112 years in the summer, it would be apt if they could do so with a bit of silverware.
Tuesday’s opponents Liverpool have had a bit to say about the Hammers forays in the cup, and not just the late heartbreak in the 2006 final.
Before this season the Reds last fell to the London club in both league fixtures back in the 1963-64 campaign. That summer one Bobby Moore went on to lift the FA Cup for the Hammers at Wembley.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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