West Ham have been drawn away to Burnley in the fourth round of the League Cup. Having avoided the bigger Premier League teams, I think most Hammers fans will be happy with the draw.
However, Burnley can be a mighty banana skin, as is any away tie in a cup competition. Birmingham knocked out Swansea 3-0 in the previous round, so evidently there is no margin for complacency - or you will get punished.
Couple that with Burnley’s flying start in the Championship this season, and you can see why I am quietly dreading the tie. They are currently sitting pretty in the second tier, top with 26 points after 11 games.
They were unlucky not to be on more points, after a fluke goal at home to Blackburn cost them the win that Hammers old boy Junior Stanislas had put in front of them.
Danny Ings is firing on all cylinders at the moment too, having scored 11 goals so far this campaign - seven in the league and four in cups.
Of course, not only are Burnley scoring a lot of goals, but they are not conceding many either - keeping seven clean sheets in 14 games since the start of the season.
Beating Reading at home after convincing wins over Doncaster and Charlton stretched their winning streak to six in all competitions. Undoubtedly, Burnley are absolutely flying.
Furthermore, West Ham’s away form is not exactly stellar, and Turf Moor is a tough place to go regardless of Burnley’s form. They have taken scalps of big Premier League teams there in the past, notably Manchester United and Liverpool (remember Djimi Traore?).
Yes, of course on paper it has been good for the Hammers to avoid Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City, with the first two playing each other in the next round. But, they certainly should not be taking anything for granted.
West Ham fans jumping the gun and looking at further than the fourth round may find themselves nastily surprised, especially considering Sam Allardyce doesn’t seem to have much interest in cup competitions.
However, the east Londoners can take some comfort in the fact that the only cup meeting between the sides finished 5-1 at Upton Park in the 2010/2011 season. Goals from debutant Thomas Hitzlsperger, Carlton Cole, Winston Reid and Freddie Sears saw off Burnley with relative ease.
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