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That fixture swung the way of the Hammers when Jose Holebas was sent off after the interval (his red card was later rescinded, thus allowing him to play in the FA Cup final).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…]

A tale of two clubs, Arnie finishes as top scorer and more- Talking Points from Watford 1-4 West Ham

West Ham ended their season on a high as they beat FA Cup finalists Watford 4-1 at Vicarage Road. Here are our talking points from the game.

A tale of two clubs: Watford started the season with four straight wins while West Ham started theirs with four straight defeats. The two teams were 10th and 11th going into this fixture, but the Hammers secured a top ten finish at the expense of the Hornets with this 4-1 victory. If Watford had avoided defeat, it would’ve been their first top-ten finish in the top flight since Graham Taylor did so in the mid 1980’s. Instead, the Hornets had to be content with a spot in the bottom half of the table.

The red card that changed the game: The 4-1 end scoreline was a flattering one to the Hammers. Watford had dominated the first half, but trailed 2-0 at the break. They pulled one back immediately from kickoff after the interval and were looking dangerous before Holebas’ red card (on his 100th Premier League game) changed the complexion of the game. It was perhaps a slightly harsh one, but his dismissal snuffed out any hopes the Hornets might have had of winning the game. Felipe Anderson started to pull the strings for West Ham after Holebas’ dismissal and worse, Javi Gracia’s side may be without their influential left back for the FA Cup final against Man City.

Watford fans would’ve also had their hearts in their mouths after Etienne Capoue’s late challenge on Mark Noble, but fortunately for them, Chris Kavanagh deemed it worthy of only a yellow. Capoue, like Holebas, was playing a landmark game- his 150th Premier League appearance.

Marko Arnautovic finishes as the club’s top scorer: At 2-1, Felipe Anderson’s shot beat Ben Foster, only for the woodwork to deny the Brazilian. It however rebounded for Arnautovic to score, and the Austrian made no mistake. If Anderson had scored, he would’ve finished as West Ham’s top league scorer for 2018/19, and the only one to get into double digits, but as it so happened, that honour went to Arnautovic.

While Anderson fell a bit off the pace in the second half of the season, the Brazilian has had a very successful 2018/19 for West Ham, and fans will be hoping that he can kick on in 2019/20.

A poor game for Pablo Zabaleta: The veteran Argentine would perhaps not have anticipated coming on in this game, but an unfortunate injury to Ryan Fredericks necessitated his early introduction. He had a game to forget, tormented by Deulofeu’s pace, and it was his misplaced back pass that allowed Watford to score just 11 seconds from second half kickoff.

Another good game for Mark Noble: West Ham’s veteran skipper scored two goals- one a very nice individual goal to open the scoring for the Hammers, as well as the fourth and final goal for them from the penalty spot. Also had a pivotal part to play in the Lanzini goal. All in all, a fantastic day at the office for the medio.

WHUFC starting lineup vs Watford 2019

Watford v West Ham Pundit Predictions- Can the Hammers sign off with a win?

The final day of the 2018/19 Premier League season is upon us, and West Ham will finish their engagements with this clash away at Watford. Beating the Hornets will seal a top 10 finish for Manuel Pellegrini’s men.

Javi Gracia’s Watford will have one eye on their upcoming FA Cup final against Man City- it perhaps comes as no surprise that they’ve won just once in their last five games (that too against relegated Huddersfield) once they beat Wolves in their Cup semi-final.

Let’s take a look at what the pundits have to say about this Round 38 clash.

Mark Lawrenson: Lawro says that every time he thinks West Ham are going to kick on, they go missing. Notes that Watford will seal a top 10 finish in the top flight for the first time since 1986/87 if they avoid defeat on Sunday afternoon, and has backed the Hornets to do exactly that with his 1-1 prediction.

Celeb opponent: Lawro’s celeb opponent this weekend is hip hop star Loyle Carner, who has also chosen a 1-1 draw. [Read more…]

Media Player Ratings- How did West Ham’s players fare in the defeat against Watford?

West Ham’s ambitions of claiming a fifth victory on the bounce were dashed by Javi Gracia’s Watford, who upset the Hammers 2-0 at the London Stadium. Most pundits had expected Manuel Pellegrini’s side to continue their winning run going at home, especially against a Watford side that had won only twice in 20 on the road prior to this game, but goals from Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu condemned the Hammers to their first defeat of the month.

West Ham were unchanged from the side that had beaten Fulham while Watford made only one change, bringing back Etienne Capoue from suspension in place of former West Ham youngster Domingos Quina. [Read more…]

Lee Mason Hoodoo continues, Lawro gets prediction right & more- Five Talking points from West Ham v Watford

West Ham’s hopes of a fifth straight league win were dashed on Saturday afternoon by Watford, with Javi Gracia’s team emerging with all three points from the London Stadium. In what was a very physical game, the Hornets’ goals came through Troy Deeney (pen) and Gerard Deulofeu. West Ham certainly had their chances, but didn’t take them, unlike last weekend’s game against Fulham. Watford could’ve scored more but for the brilliance of Lukasz Fabianski, who probably didn’t deserve to be on the receiving end of a 2-0 scoreline.

West Ham’s recent bad run under Lee Mason continues

When Mason was appointed as the ref for this GW18 clash, we had noted that the Hammers had lost their last four in the league under him. 4 consecutive losses became 5 as the Hornets came away with a 2-0 win.

Mark Lawrenson gets his prediction right!

Among the pre-match pundit predictions for this game, Lawro was the only one who went against the grain and predicted a Watford win. He had tipped Fulham to win last weekend, and again chose to back West Ham’s opponents for this game. Not only did Watford win, they also won by the exact same scoreline that Lawro had predicted- 2-0!

This is Lawro’s second “perfect” score this season (result + correct scoreline) after the Huddersfield game.

West Ham v Watford in the Premier League doesn’t end in a draw when the Hammers are the home side

The 11 previous top flight games at West Ham between the two sides had always produced a victor, and this one was no different.

Five of the last six games (one being a draw at Watford) between the two sides had seen the victor triumph by a two goal margin. This also ended in a two goal victory.

Few would’ve expected Man City (to Palace), Chelsea (to Leicester), and West Ham (to Watford) to lose at home on the same weekend, but GW18 has been full of surprising results.

Defeat for Declan Rice in his 50th Hammers appearance and Chicha misses out on 50 league goals

Declan Rice’s 50th Hammers appearance ended in defeat. He was also perhaps a tad below his usual standards today (but we hold the lad to really high standards given his previous performances!)

Javier Hernandez is still looking for this 50th Premier League goal, and had at least three chances to do so today, including one sitter. However none of them were converted, and Chicharito’s wait continues.

Let’s hope Fabian Balbuena’s injury isn’t too bad

Fabian Balbuena was forced to limp off with a knee injury that he suffered while conceding the first half penalty that Deeney converted. The Paraguayan’s defensive partnership with Issa Diop has been one of the highlights of West Ham’s season and fans must be praying that his injury isn’t serious.

CB is an area where the Hammers lack depth- Angelo Ogbonna can fill in, as he did today, but after him, it looks very thin. Cresswell played as part of a three man defence last season- is he good enough for a role in a two man defence? The other option would be to shift Rice, who has been excellent in midfield, to CB. With a busy and important run of fixtures coming up, West Ham need Balbuena to be fit.