100th Premier League away win, poor afternoon for Yarmolenko, Miss of the Season contender & more- Five Talking Points from Watford vs West Ham

West Ham claimed their first win of the 2019/20 Premier League season and condemned Javi Gracia’s Watford to a third successive defeat as they ran out surprise 3-1 winners at Vicarage Road. Here are our talking points from the game.

100th Premier League away win & first in August since 2016: Not only was this West Ham’s 100th Premier League win on the road, it was also their first win in August in nearly three years. The Hammers, perhaps not helped by their opening fixture list in recent years (the last six seasons have all started against big name opposition) have often struggled to get going in the first month of the new season. Today was their first victory in August since a solitary Michail Antonio goal gave them victory against Bournemouth on 21 August, 2016.

None of the pre-match predictions had the Hammers winning. Four points on the road from Brighton and Watford will be highly satisfying for Manuel Pellegrini, especially given West Ham’s struggles away from home against mid table opposition in recent years.

A forgettable afternoon for Andriy Yarmolenko: The Ukranian was given his first start in the Premier League since October 2018, and didn’t quite make the most of it.

There were three major moments in the first half involving Yarmolenko- one where he could’ve ensured that Felipe Anderson’s header went in, but for some bizarre reason, simply chose to stand there, letting Watford off the hook. The second was when the Hornets scored their opening goal, with Yarmolenko guilty of ignoring his defensive duties, jogging back slowly as Watford attacked on his flank. The third was when 35 year old left back Jose Holebas beat him for pace and nearly set up a goal for the home side, forcing Pellegrini to temporarily switch Felipe Anderson to the right wing.

Yarmolenko was subbed off at half time, with Antonio taking his place.

Early contender for Miss of the Season from Will Hughes: Perhaps the moment that Watford will be ruing. At 1-1 in the 55th minute, Hughes was unmarked in front of goal, but somehow contrived to smash it over the bar from a yard out. An early contender for miss of the season.

Haller makes his mark: Sebastien Haller opened his account for the Hammers with two goals today. One was a bicycle kick finish, and there was plenty on offer to suggest he may be an even bigger success at the club than Marko Arnautovic. West Ham have struggled to find a proven goal scorer- Arnautovic was the only one to get into double digits last season (and that was in the last week of 2018/19). It’s early days, but the signs are encouraging.

Some parallels to last season’s corresponding fixture: West Ham beat Watford 4-1 in the corresponding game last season, and emerged 3-1 winners today at Vicarage Road. The referee for both games was the same– Chris Kavanagh. The Hammers finished with a xG score of 3.46 today- the only time across the entire 18/19 league season when they crossed 3 in that department was also against the Hornets.

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