Fortress Upton Park to ensure West Ham march on in FA Cup

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A mishap against Bournemouth and a loss to Leicester that looks far more credible than it did back in August are the only two games West Ham have lost at home in any competition this season.

Slaven Bilic’s Hammers have chained 11 unbeaten games together since their 3-4 reverse to the Cherries at the season’s outset. In their last five in east London, they’ve won four and kept three clean sheets.

It’s that record that has convinced Ladbrokes to make them 11/8 favourites for their FA Cup fourth-round replay with Liverpool. It should be more than enough to sway the bookmaker’s customers to pile into the Upton Park club too.

In case further evidence was required, Liverpool have faded like a bank note in the sun in Jurgen Klopp’s recent away games.

Following a strong start, in which the Reds drew with Tottenham and beat Chelsea and Manchester City during a five-game unbeaten streak, the Merseysiders have since won just three of their next nine.

Included in that skid is a 2-0 defeat to Bilic’s boys, when Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll got the goals to down a full strength Liverpool outfit.

Injuries and a tin-of-sardines schedule have since forced the German’s hand to introduce a raft of youth teamers into the setup for cup games.

There were four in the starting lineup for the Anfield clash with West Ham and as the Europa League returns to further clog Klopp’s fixture pipes, more could make an appearance in the replay, where Klopp’s men are 23/10 to win.

Bilic doesn’t have those concerns forcing his hand and can extend the Hammers’ strong record in home FA Cup games, in which the Irons have lost just eight of 46 in their history.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.