Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham United will tonight meet with AFC Wimbledon at the Cherry Records Stadium in the Second Round of the 2018/2019 edition of the Carabao Cup.
The Hammers will have their eyes on an esteem-boosting victory against League One opponents and a place in the next round, but does their record at this stage of the competition in the last five years offer any cues as to whether they will progress, when they make the trip to South West London?
All the way back in 2013, five years ago, a West Ham team managed by Sam Allardyce were drawn at home to face Cheltenham Town at Upton Park, in Round Two of what was then known as the Capital One Cup.
The team that had been promoted from the Championship a year before defeated the Gloucestershire outfit 2-1 thanks to goals from Ricardo Vaz Te and Ravel Morrison, they would draw Cardiff City in the next round, defeating them and going onto reach the semi-finals, being humbled 9-0 on aggregate by Manchester City.
The following year, Allardyce’s men were keen to go far in the tournament once again, hoping not to draw another high-calibre side along the way and they got their way, another home tie with another outfit from a lower division, Sheffield United.
Revenge was on the agenda for the Hammers in their first meeting with the club after they successfully sued them out of millions of pounds over the illegal signing if Carlos Tevez, they wouldn’t get it, losing on penalties after a 1-1 draw and falling at the first hurdle of the League Cup for the second time in the space of three years.
There would be no bowing out of the competition in an early round during the 2015/2016 season as the East Londoners, now under the guidance of Slaven Bilic, didn’t compete at this stage.
This was due to the fact that they were granted a bye by the EFL for the Second Round for their UEFA Europa League qualification round commitments, entering and being knocked out by Leicester City at the King Power Stadium in the Capital One Cup Round Three
The season after, the story was very much the same for Bilic’s boys in their first season in London Stadium as they gained the same bye as before due to the Europa League, a competition they were knocked out of before the group stages both years by FC Astra Giurgiu of Romania.
Having automatically entered the Round Three draw, Accrington Stanley were chosen as their first League Cup opponents at their new Stratford home and the tie was decided by a late Dimitri Payet free-pick, the Irons would be dumped out in the last-eight by Manchester United, that year.
In the 2017/2018 campaign, the club weren’t involved in any European competitions so it was back to late August Round Two action, when they journeyed to the South West to clash with Cheltenham, once more.
Much like this year, Bilic’s men were in need of a victory to gain some momentum after a torrid start to the season, and they managed to claim a 0-2 one, courtesy of goals from Diafra Sakho, for the second consecutive year, they eventually fell in the quarter-finals, losing out to Arsenal.
This year, West Ham will be looking to draw on the experience of winning in two of their last three appearances in Round Two, all of which were against opposition from the lower leagues.
Pellegrini’s men must go head-to-head with Neal Ardley’s Dons at Kingsmeadow for the first time tonight, will it be familiar Carabao Cup success for the Hammers and a place in the Third Round, or a classic cup upset? Follow along on @WestHamMatters_ this evening, to find out.