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. [Read more…]

Watford v West Ham Predictions- What do Messrs Lawro, Nicholas & Co. think of West Ham’s chances at Vicarage Road?

Javi Gracia’s Watford will be desperate to move off the bottom of the Premier League table when they host West Ham this weekend. The Hornets, incredible as it may sound, are the only team neither to have picked up a point nor to have to scored a goal going into Match Week 3.

Gracia has also had to contend with injury issues- Troy Deeney is a long term absentee, Doucoure and Pereyra are doubtful for this clash, while new summer Ismaila Sarr is working his way into match fitness.

West Ham, on the other hand, should have the troika of Mark Noble, Felipe Anderson and Sebastien Haller available for the trip to Vicarage Road.

The Hammers won this clash 4-1 when the two sides met last season. Let’s take a look at what the pundits have predicted for them this time around.

Mark Lawrenson: Lawro reckons Watford “will sneak a win” and that Jack Wilshere “doesn’t look up to it” so far for the Hammers. Has gone for a 2-1 win to the Hornets. [Read more…]

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. [Read more…]

Media Player Ratings for West Ham against Brighton- Fab great, Jack not so much

Here is how the major newspapers and media outlets rated West Ham’s players in their Round 2 clash against Brighton at the Amex on Saturday afternoon.

Manuel Pellegrini, clearly disappointed with his side’s second half capitulation against City, rang in the changes, with five new faces in the starting XI. West Ham started with wbat looked like a 4-1-4-1, with Pablo Fornals operating on the left, Robert Snodgrass on the right, and Manuel Lanzini and Jack Wilshere on either side of Declan Rice. Somewhat surprisingly, Javier Hernandez was named as the sole striker, on his own upfront against the tall Brighton CB trio of Shane Duffy, Lewis Dunk and Dan Burn.

lineup vs brighton 2019 [Read more…]

Ogbonna captain, Brighton remain unbeaten under Anthony Taylor & more- Talking Points from BHAFC v West Ham

West Ham’s first away game of the new 2019/20 Premier League season saw Manuel Pellegrini’s side draw 1-1 with Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium. Javier Hernandez put the visitors ahead just after the hour mark, only for debutant Leandro Trossard to equalise four minutes later for Albion.

Here are our talking points from the game.

Angelo Ogbonna into the starting lineup and appointed captain: Manuel Pellegrini was clearly upset with the performances of some of his players against Man City. Aaron Cresswell, captain for the season opener, went out of the 18 altogether today, with Arthur Masuaku replacing him at left back.

Another surprising omission was that of Fabian Balbuena, with Pellegrini drafting Angelo Ogbonna into the XI at the expense of the Paraguayan and also handing him the armband.

Sebastien Haller and Felipe Anderson were both injury enforced absentees, with Michail Antonio the fifth player to be axed.

lineup vs brighton 2019

Brighton remain unbeaten under Anthony Taylor: We had noticed before the game that Brighton had never lost a Premier League game with Anthony Taylor as referee. That record stayed intact today. [Read more…]