Referee appointed for Watford v West Ham- Potentially good news for the Hammers?

The referee for West Ham’s Round 3 clash against Watford has been announced, and it’s the same person who was in charge when the Hammers won 4-1 at Vicarage Road on the final day of the 2018/19 season- Chris Kavanagh.

The 4-1 win was perhaps a tad flattering to West Ham, but it ensured they finished in the top ten, and saw Watford slip into the bottom half. If the Hornets had avoided defeat in that clash, it would’ve been their first top-ten finish in the top flight since Graham Taylor had managed to do so in the mid 80’s.

That fixture swung the way of the Hammers when Jose Holebas was sent off after the interval (his red card was later rescinded, thus allowing him to play in the FA Cup final). Mark Noble scored two goals that afternoon, including one from the penalty spot. Given how the Hammers midfield have struggled in the opening two weeks of the 19/20 season, a return for the veteran at Vicarage Road, potentially at the expense of Jack Wilshere, might help stabilise things in the centre of the park for the visitors.

Kavanagh refereed Spurs’ 3-1 win over Aston Villa on the opening weekend of the 19/20 season.

West Ham games under Chris Kavanagh in the 2018/19 season (all competitions)

Watford 1-4 West Ham (W)
Chelsea 2-0 West Ham (L)
West Ham 2-0 Newcastle (W)
West Ham 2-2 Brighton (D)
Huddersfield 1-1 West Ham (D)
West Ham 0-1 Wolves (L)

That’s 2 wins, 2 draws and 2 defeats across six games in the 18/19 season under Kavanagh. No red cards dished out in these games, but penalties were awarded in the games against Newcastle and Watford.

Watford games under Chris Kavanagh last season (all competitions)

Unlike West Ham, who had Kavanagh as referee for six games, Watford only had him for one fixture, and that was the above-mentioned loss to Manuel Pellegrini’s men on the final day of the season. The Hornets however were undefeated under him in the 2017/18 league season, beating Newcastle and Leicester and drawing against Palace.

Watford (20) v West Ham (16) on August 24, 2019

Kavanagh will be assisted by Dan Cook & Sian Massey-Ellis, with Darren Bond as the fourth official. VAR will be manned by Australian referee Jarred Gillett

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