We’re delighted to welcome former West Ham United striker Frank McAvennie as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at the London Stadium…
Frank McAvennie believes that playing in swamp-like conditions at Stockport on Monday night will have done some West Ham players the world of good.
Craig Dawson’s late goal earned the Irons a 1-0 win at Edgeley Park to progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup, where they will play Doncaster Rovers at the London Stadium.
It was a tough match in very wet and muddy conditions away at the National League club but David Moyes’ men still managed to overcome that.
McAvennie claims that the conditions led to the Hammers playing more aerial balls than they are used to and also believes that certain players, like Declan Rice, flourished in that sort of match.
“It was a good goal in horrible conditions – but we used to play in that every week so I thought it was a great night for football,” McAvennie told West Ham Zone.
“I think some of the boys actually enjoyed it. Look at Rice, he was sliding about in the puddles and I’m thinking, ‘some of them will quite like that’.
“It was a great leveller for West Ham. They couldn’t roll the ball about so they had to keep it in the air so it would have been an experience for some of the West Ham boys. The pampered players will have never had that.
“It would have been good for them to go back to grass-roots if you like, and see what it’s like. This is the kind of level you could be playing at if you don’t get it together.”
If you told us before the game that West Ham would only win 1-0 away at Stockport we would have been a bit disappointed.
However, a win is a win and at least the Hammers avoided going to extra-time or penalties in the horrific weather conditions at Edgely Park.
Moyes managed to rotate his squad a bit so that he has players fresh and ready to face Burnley on Saturday and, as McAvennie pointed out, the fact the Stockport pitch was so bad could help down the line for certain players in the Irons squad.
Up next for Moyes and his squad is a clash with Doncaster at the London Stadium.
We would expect that game to be a lot more routine as the Irons are on home turf. However, the Yorkshire club are doing well in League One this term.
Let’s not take them for granted.
In other West Ham news, Angelo Ogbonna showed off his defensive might in the 1-0 win against Stockport on Monday.