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Monday Musings: A walk in the (Ewood) park

Filed: Monday, 22nd February 2016
By: Graeme Howlett

West Ham were simply too good for Championship side Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park on Sunday afternoon as they eased their way through to the quarter finals of the FA Cup for the first time since 2011.

A brace apiece from Dimitri Payet and new signing Emmanuel Emenike - combined with a Vic Moses strike that cancelled out Ben Marshall's early opener (NB. another slow start from the Hammers) - sent West Ham through to a potential last eight encounter with Manchester United at Old Trafford.

League One Shrewsbury, who face Man U in the last of the eight fifth round fixtures tonight (Monday) will no doubt have something to say about that - and who's to say the League One side won't be able to overcome a distinctly lacklustre Mancunian outfit?

But even if they fail, West Ham should have little to fear about facing Louis Van Gaal's expensively-assembled, ragtag gang of misfits who have flattered to deceive for much of the campaign and have been unable to beat United in either of their last two meetings.

Indeed, should they continue to play as they did on Sunday, the Hammers should fear nobody. The gulf in class between Bilic's side and Paul Lambert's Championship strugglers was vast and clearly evident and, bar Marshall's early effort, which caught Darren Randolph unsighted, this really was a case of men against boys.

Spurred on by more than 7,000 travelling supporters, who had made the 250-mile trip from London to the North West, West Ham scored five, had two efforts disallowed for offside and hit the post. Had they scored ten, Rovers fans would have had little cause for complaint.

At the heart of almost everything good that came from West Ham was Dimitri Payet, who is clearly revelling in his role as the club's poster boy.

Happy with his new contract and adored by the fans, the 28-year-old midfielder scored another wonderful first half free kick before wrapping up the game with a virtuoso effort that involved a fifty-yard run and the beating of several opponents, whom he left trailing in his wake.

It would have been a perfect day for West Ham had Cheik Kouyate not been sent off midway through the second half after he was deemed to have denied a goalscoring opportunity by referee Jon Moss, thus earning a one-match suspension.

However West Ham believe they have a good chance of overturning the decision upon appeal because Kouyate's (minimal) contact with Adam Henley was clearly accidental and the striker had already lost control of the ball, which was racing away towards 'keeper Darren Randolph, before contact was made.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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