Nottingham Forest 5 West Ham 0: Three talking points
Nottingham Forest 5 West Ham 0: Three talking points as the Hammers suffer a humiliating FA Cup exit
FA Cup importance again undermined
On Saturday, Paul Lambert felt the wrath of Aston Villa fans after seemingly placing low priority on the FA Cup and today Sam Allardyce did the same with his team selection. Ahead of the match the manager said the midweek semi-final League Cup clash at Manchester City, in addition to the league, were the club’s main priorities and tried his hand at giving several youngsters a starting spot in the game. 90 minutes later, it was clear to see the plan backfired drastically but Allardyce stated he had no other option. For a club like West Ham, the chance of silverware does not come around too often and time will tell if his selection is justified. If the Hammers go on to lift the League Cup he will be praised as a hero and this result will be forgotten but it seems sad that the FA Cup is losing some of its importance amongst some managers. In an era where managers are given little time to impress, league safety – as Lambert as well as Allardyce said – has had to become the number one objective and even FA Cup days fail to give the break from league pressure as sides ensure they keep their best players fresh for the league.
Forest’s balanced squad
The club have gone from strength-to-strength this far and continued their fine form in remarkable fashion to dismantle Allardyce’s men. Sitting fifth in the Championship, Billy Davies’ men have a great chance of claiming promotion if the chairman does offer funds to add to the squad. However, even now the club has a fine balance of youth and experience within it. Spirits are high and players are enjoying playing for their manager which was evident when captain Andy Reid shared a giggle with Davies in the closing stages after seeing a wayward shot fly over. This show of team spirit along with the elegance of Djamel Abdoun and Jamie Paterson will only force teams to fear the side more in what will be a telling period for the club. If Forest can bring in Shane Long in January and keep hold of the on-loan Jack Hobbs then they can only improve and will certainly have a strong chance of joining the Premier League elite – with today’s opponents being in danger of going the other way.
Potential sale of Morrison
On Friday, Allardyce said the club had not yet received any offers for England Under-21 starlet Ravel Morrison despite the east London side reported to be willing to listen to offers. Today’s performance will strengthen claims that the club must buy and the sale of Morrison could be the only way to find the money to do so. The Hammers are in desperate need for a striker, whilst defensive additions would help. If the right bid is received, it seems as though it could be a wise decision to sell and could be the difference between staying in the top-flight or being relegated. Morrison is no doubt a touch of class but with Allardyce’s fine eye for a bargain he is sure to have a number of targets he would like to bring to Upton Park if a sale was to go through. Manchester United have been linked to their former player but it has been confirmed that the club do not have a buy-back clause so would have to start fresh negotiations. Fulham have also recently been showing an interest but it is not sure whether they have the means to put up the cash that West Ham will be looking for.