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As the Hammers march through the Carabao Cup, should we consider the options?

Filed: Tuesday, 16th October 2018
By: Staff Writer #3

There are few things better than watching the Hammers put eight goals over an opponent as they did against Macclesfield Town at the end of September.

Even a couple of weeks after the event, a quick look over the score sheet makes good reading, with two apiece for Robert Snodgrass and Grady Diangana who were among the six West Ham goal scorers. And, better yet, the result saw them progress through to the Round of 16 in the Carabao Cup, with a home match against Tottenham to look forward to this Halloween, October 31.

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But, after the dust has settled and results start going the other way in other competitions, questions start being asked. And the most important question for a top-flight side like West Ham is whether so much energy and focus should be piled into the League Cup and if that energy is hindering the Hammers’ performance elsewhere, primarily in the Premier League. Of course, wrapped up in that question is the dangling carrot that is the UEFA Europa League spot reserved for the winner of the League Cup, and the consideration of whether this is the best way of getting there.

Last week’s result against Brighton is something of a case in point. While the Hammers turned the game around and played brilliantly in the second half, the first simply wasn’t good enough, as Pablo Zabaleta has pointed out since the defeat. Zabaleta pointed the mental resilience of the team perhaps being a factor in not playing their best football for the full 90 minutes and that could well be the case. That is particularly likely when you look at the fact that we put three past Manchester United, conceding only one, just the week before.

But could it be that the players are just tired from having to spread their efforts thinly across different competitions, rather than being able to focus directly on one competition? Perhaps it is but, then again, shouldn’t the mentality of a great side be to win everything?

One could argue that it is. If you look at the odds on moplay.co.uk, West Ham are looking in relatively healthy shape to win the League Cup at 21-1, compared to favourites Manchester City, who are given 12-5. Of course, odds don’t mean everything and, by virtue of being in the Round of 16, there is much hope of progression in a competition that would give the Hammers the opportunity to play in Europe.

So, the Hammers' chances of winning the Carabao Cup, giving them the chance to play in the Europa League next year, are looking pretty positive. The match against Tottenham will be hard, and the matches will continue to get tougher, but both club and supporters shouldn’t be going into them asking cynical questions about where the players, coaching, and support staff should be focusing their energy.

The Hammers are playing to win competitions, not to spread their odds across them, trying to pick and choose where they might win. Ultimately, the focus should be on winning, not which competitions to work harder for.

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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