West Ham United made sure once again to not be a Premier League 3rd Round casualty in the FA Cup, as they defeated tricky Birmingham City 2-0 at the London Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The Hammers knew that the draw for the most prestigious domestic cup competition in the world this season did not give them the easiest of opening rounds, with a side from The Second City having every chance still to get into at least The Championship’s Playoffs at season’s end. But Manuel Pellegrini’s squad were able to hold off Garry Monk’s visitors with two bookend goals on the day from tall star strikers Marko Arnautovic and Andy Carroll.
Arnautovic and the Hammers didn’t waste any time taking the lead, as they needed less than two minutes to go 1-0 up. It was sloppy goalkeeping from the visitors Lee Camp, allowing the Austrian to head home the rebound. But Arnautovic would quickly get another injury concern and come off not too long afterwards. Carroll was his replacement, and he would make his long awaited return to the scoresheet towards the match’s end.
But in between, West Ham would not only have their chances, but require both Carroll and Michail Antonio to do necessary last ditch defending to prevent Birmingham from leveling the match.
And in the end, the Hammers sealed advancement to the 4th Round draft, as Carroll redeemed himself for not being able to score off a fine Felipe Anderson set up pass a few minutes earlier. It was from another impact play of late from Antonio, who delivered an enticing cross that the giant target man easily finished to assure Pellegrini a positive first FA Cup result with his new club.
The Hammers will see if they can get into the European places of the Premier League table next weekend, when they have their latest London derby at home in the London Stadium against Arsenal at the bottom of the noon hour locally on Saturday.