West Ham 0-2 Watford Match Report- Hornets break Hammers’ four game winning run

On paper, this was a battle between two pretty equal teams. Both were neck and neck in the league standings, and their managers- Manuel Pellegrini and Javi Gracia, once coached together at Villarreal. And it was a pretty even clash that could’ve probably gone either way, but eventually saw Watford come away with all three points in front of 56,833 fans at the London Stadium.

West Ham fielded an unchanged lineup, with Michail Antonio and Hernandez again paired up together upfront. This side has plenty of honest triers, but some of them, unfortunately, aren’t quite what you need to be top six. Felipe Anderson has been instrumental in West Ham’s rise up the table despite the absence of Marko Arnautovic, and the Brazilian was kept quiet by Watford. He did create one beautiful chance for Javier Hernandez, but the Mexican mis kicked what should’ve been an easy finish by his standards. And that was the story for much of the afternoon- West Ham had around half a dozen decent chances, but didn’t put them away, as they had in previous games.

West Ham Lineup v Watford 2018

Watford had one shot on target in the entire first half, and that was the penalty Fabian Balbuena conceded in the box. Deeney had missed his last two penalties, but he sent Lukasz Fabianski the wrong way. The Polish keeper has been excellent for West Ham, but coudn’t reproduce his Joe Ralls save from a few days ago.

Balbuena later limped off with a knee injury, and had to be replaced by Angelo Ogbonna. Pellegrini will be hoping that Balbuena’s injury is not too serious- the Paraguayan has formed a formidable partnership in the heart of defence with Issa Diop this season.

Hernandez had three chances- one in the first half where he was denied by Ben Foster, the miskick mentioned above, and another when a good touch allowed him space for a shot, but Doucoure deflected it for a corner.

Michail Antonio had two better chances (one was an open goal one), but hit the woodwork. Antonio works hard, but you need that extra quality to edge games, and he’s not that, unfortunately. Snodgrass had a deflected header saved brilliantly by Foster, and it was pretty clear that it wasn’t the Hammers’ day. They had more attempts and corners, but weren’t simply able to convert that pressure into points.

At the other end, Fabianski produced good saves to deny both Doucoure and Deeney, with plenty of gaps appearing in the West Ham midfield after Noble was hauled off for Andy Carroll. Eventually the goal that put the game beyond the Hammers’ reach came three minutes before time, with some delicious interplay between Pereyra and Deulofeu before the latter produced a good finish. We think Arthur Masuaku could’ve done better there- he shoud’ve attempted to close down the space. There was another occasion when Rice brilliantly retrieved the ball, only for Masuaku to forget that he was actually on the pitch, and Waford were back in possession. Left back is another position that requires reinforcements, in our humble opinion.

Next up are Southampton, who look a different proposition under Ralph Hasenhuttl after back to back wins over Arsenal and Huddersfield. The game’s at St.Marys- three weeks ago, it would’ve probably been a gimme three points for the Hammers, but not today.

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