The FA Cup third round replays kick off tonight and all eyes will be at Upton Park where West Ham will be hopeful of knocking Everton out of the competition at the second time of asking.
The Hammers can consider themselves unlucky not to be already safely through to the next round of the FA Cup, a sloppy piece of defending allowing Romelu Lukaku to cancel out Jamie Collins’ opening goal in the original tie and forcing a replay in east London.
Indeed, that strike was Lukaku’s fourth in four matches and as such, Roberto Martinez will certainly be handing the Belgian another chance to continue his scoring spree tonight, giving Hammers boss Sam Allardyce something to think about when deciding his team selection.
The Toffees had a poor run over the festive period, however that was followed by creditable draws against West Ham and reigning champions Manchester City, therefore the side will be in relatively high spirits coming into this encounter.
Nevertheless on current form we would expect the Merseyside team to struggle against their east London opponents tonight and Allardyce will almost certainly be fielding his strongest possible side for this clash, especially since their next match isn’t until Sunday when they face Premier League strugglers Hull City.
Martinez doesn’t have the luxury of fielding his strongest side with seven key players absent through injury, the most crucial being keeper Tim Howard, midfield pair Leon Osman and James McCarthy as well as defender Sylvain Distin.
West Ham will certainly be the stronger of these two sides. They have been extremely consistent this season so far and a victory tonight would secure them a relatively easy passage to the fifth round of the competition with just Bristol City or Doncaster Rovers standing in their way in the next round.
Our betting tips
West Ham to win in normal time – BetVictor 11/8
West Ham win with both teams scoring – William Hill 10/3
Over 2.5 Goals – Bet365 19/20