Four things we loved about West Ham United's Emirates FA Cup third round win over Leeds United...
1. Up for the Cup!
West Ham United fans are loving life at the moment, and you turned out in your tens of thousands yet again for Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup third round win over Leeds United.
With the Club’s popular Kids for a Quid scheme in operation, families and friends descended upon London Stadium from far and wide, making for a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
And with 8,500 Leeds fans also in attendance, West Ham played host to the biggest FA Cup crowd anywhere this weekend – 54,303.
2. Valuable Vlašić
Nikola Vlašić has been given more opportunities in recent weeks by manager David Moyes – and he is most definitely taking them.
The Croatia international produced a Man of the Match performance in Sunday’s victory, catching the eye with his close control, strength and work-rate.
All three were in evidence in the build-up to West Ham United’s first goal, as the No11 collected Michail Antonio’s pass with his back to goal, span, held off Leo Hjelde and got a shot away, before following in and forcing the ball loose from goalkeeper Illan Meslier and into the path of Manuel Lanzini, who scored.
Vlašić’s presence was felt throughout, winning free-kicks in dangerous areas and setting up a shooting chance for captain Declan Rice.
The standing ovation that the 24-year-old received on being substituted with three minutes to play was recognition of Vlašić’s best performance so far in a Claret and Blue shirt.
3. Brilliant Bowen
Is there a better player in English football than Jarrod Bowen at present?
The West Ham United winger was at his brilliant best yet again in Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup third round win over Leeds United.
The winger had one shot cleared off the line by Luke Ayling, fired a second wide and had a third saved by Illan Meslier before finally getting his reward with a smartly taken left-foot finish in added time.
Bowen also played two key passes, setting up big chances for Michail Antonio and Ryan Fredericks in the first half, illustrating his growing value as a creator as well as a goalscorer.
Surely that England call-up cannot be too far away?
4. A romantic draw
West Ham United’s reward for Sunday’s Emirates FA third round win is a fourth-round draw that will delight football’s romantics.
The Hammers will travel to Aggborough to face National League North side Kidderminster Harriers, who themselves shocked EFL Championship club Reading with a 2-1 come-from-behind upset on Saturday afternoon.
The two clubs have met just once previously, in the fifth round in February 1994, when Lee Chapman’s goal settled matters between the Premier League Hammers and Conference Harriers in front of 8,000 vociferous fans.
And West Ham will undoubtedly receive another rapturous recaptioned when we return to Worcestershire over the weekend of 4-6 February!