BBC London Sport reporter Nick Godwin is a regular at West Ham United matches. On Sunday, he watched the Hammers come within seven minutes of beating Manchester United to reach the Emirates FA Cup semi-finals. Despite that frustration, Godwin has been hugely impressed by what he has seen from the Hammers…
I am disappointed for West Ham. I know a draw at Old Trafford is a great result and it sets up things brilliantly for the replay at Upton Park, but Manchester United were there for the taking in my opinion.
I really thought in the first half that the home side didn’t offer anything and Emenike should have scored. That said, it’s still a great result and it’s going to be an amazing occasion under the lights.
When Payet popped it in, I thought ‘they’re going to do this’ so I’m a bit disappointed for West Ham fans and for the team and the manager. It’s not up to me, but I walked out of the ground feeling like that.
I didn’t see the foul on Randolph at the time, but he did seem to go down. Then for Payet’s penalty claim, I think the referee did well not to give it but I don’t think Payet dived, either. Maybe the referee decided it wasn’t simulation and he simply lost his footing as he was moving at such speed.
Moments like that, the referee has to make a call and there were plenty of other talking points as well. Manchester United wanted a handball against Winston Reid, but his arm was not dangling out. His arm had to be there and the ball hit his body before his arm, so I can see why it wasn’t given as a penalty and don’t have any qualms about that decision.
It was a great FA Cup tie.
Talking about Payet’s free-kick, my summariser Matt Lockwood said when he lined it up that ‘he’s been practising these before the game during the warm-up’. Matt was struck that he was further out than normal and wondered why he was striking them from 30 yards, and he took five or six of them.
You know that practice makes perfect, of course, and then he strode up and curled it into the top corner. It was exquisite. Only two or three players in the Premier League could have done that.
He is operating at a high level, he can win a game on his own and every time he plays, he seems to rise to the occasion. Some players might have gone into their shell, but every time West Ham need him,
Dimitri takes the game by the scruff of the neck or scores the winning goal. He is very good.
I think it’s almost a case of expectations not being able to keep up with how well the team are doing. If West Ham had lost at Old Trafford, everyone would have said ‘Fair enough, that’s the way it goes in an FA Cup quarter-final there – it’s been normal over the last 20 years or so’.
The team are almost ahead of expectations. What a great situation when you have a group of players and a manager who are willing to rise to those expectations and say ‘We’ll keep producing the results to keep you in the frame to win trophies’ – it’s brilliant.
The views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of West Ham United.