West Ham 2-0 Watford – Match Report
Author: Brian Knox. Published: 10 February 2018 at 6:18pm
Match Report by @WestHamAmerican
West Ham United secured a much-needed three points this afternoon, as they returned to the London Stadium for a Premier League tie against a Watford side still riding a wave of confidence from their 4-1 win over Chelsea on Monday. Goals by Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic were enough to get the hosts through during a period where the entire bottom ten of the Premier League is in a relegation battle.
After an embarrassing defeat at Brighton, West Ham supporters were enthused once the team sheet was released and Arnautovic, Michail Antonio, and Joao Mario were all in the starting XI. With those three aiding Chicharito, there was good hope that the Hammers would show some creativity in the attacking third that was missing during last week’s disaster in the south.
Early on it was Watford with the attempt as Adrian had to save a dangerous header from Adrian Mariappa. Joao Mario tried to answer at the other end, but Orestis Karnezis was able to block.
The London Stadium thought they had an early lead when Chicharito scored midway through the opening half, but the goal was disallowed due to an offside call.
Finally, in the 38th minute Antonio drove down the left channel and crossed to Hernandez who headed in the opening goal from ten yards out.
The second half saw Adrian not in too much peril. A well-placed free kick from Deulofeu was knocked clear by the diving Spaniard, but otherwise West Ham’s defenders earned their clean sheet.
In his first match back since mid-January, Arnautovic sealed the deal for the hosts as he stole a rebound in the area and scored from inside the six yard box.
With the victory, West Ham find themselves with 30 points and level with Watford. Sadly, the relegation mark keeps creeping up, as the Hammers are only safe by five points. What we have seen this season, since the hiring of David Moyes, is that this club will be successful so long as Arnautovic is on the pitch. With a week off to prepare for a late-February trip to Anfield, hopefully Manuel Lanzini can return to action. Surviving relegation this season will completely depend on the health and form of their top scorers. Even in victory Watford held a clear advantage in time of possession. For a team that sits back and waits, the ability to run counters is the whole hope of victory. A much more healthy first team (without any domestic cup matches remaining) gives hope heading into a dangerous three months. For the remainder of the 2017-18 season the battle to watch will be at the bottom of the table.
West Ham: Adrian, Cresswell, Collins, Ogbonna, Zabaleta, Noble, Joao Mario, Kouyate, Antonio, Arnautovic, Hernandez.
Subs; Hart, Rice (84’), Fonte, Cullan, Byram (77’), Evra, Hugill (88’)
Watford: Karnezis, Janmaat, Prodl, Mariappa, Zeegelaar, Holebas, Capoue, Doucoure, Richarlison, Deulofeu, Deeney.
Subs: Bachman, Ndong, Gray (82’), Lukebakio (75’), Carrillo, Pereya (56’), Mukena
Referee: Graham Scott