After four straight Premier League victories, Manuel Pellegrini’s Hammers were oozing with confidence and the only team in better recent form than themselves were the league leaders, Liverpool.
On the other hand, arriving to The London Stadium was a Watford side looking to build on last week’s home win to Cardiff, we were set for a competitive tie.
West Ham named an unchanged lineup from the side who gave Fulham a real footballing lesson last time out, with Marko Arnautovic still sidelined with a hamstring injury. Watford made just the one change from last week’s victory, bringing Capoue back into the side as he completes his suspension.
End-to-end stuff at the London Stadium
The game began with the Hornets enjoying the share of the ball and the Spaniard Deulofeu causing problems with his pace and directness. It took just 14 minutes before he connected with a long ball, turned away from Fabianski and squared it to Deeney who’s touch was poor, and the ball was cleared.
As the half progressed, West Ham started to dominate proceedings. Michail Antonio was getting joy on the inside right channel which allowed him to fire in a dangerous low cross which was eventually cleared away. The Hammers were punishing Watford for dwelling on the ball instead of pulling the trigger.
Deeney from the spot
In the 27th minute, Watford produced a lovely, flowing move into the box that Pereyra latched onto. He was ready to lash it home when Balbuena bundled him over, leading to Lee Mason to point the spot.
The early miss clearly didn’t affect Deeney as he made it 1-0 from the spot, lifting his penalty into the top right corner and sending Fabianski the wrong way. The half ended 1-0 to Watford with the penalty remaining the difference.
Second half picks up where the first left off
Zabaleta’s right wing cross is blocked behind for a corner, the following delivery was flicked on by Antonio and deflected onto the upright off a Watford Defender, West Ham were inches away from an equaliser.
At the other end, Sema slides in Holebas whose low driven shot was parried by Fabianski, and Deeney can’t get to the loose ball to convert it for 2-0. Another huge chance for the Hornets.
West ham waited 67 minutes for their biggest chance of the game when Anderson effortlessly beat his man and layed it off to Hernandez, he looked certain to score before he completely miscued his shot from just a few yards out, he was in disbelief.
Tense last 10 minutes for Watford
Approaching The 80-minute mark, Deeney was played through once again in acres of room but his poor attempted side foot was saved by Fabianski, would these missed chances come back to bite Watford?
5 minutes from time Robert Snodgrass’ deflected header was palmed away by Foster and although being stood in the six-yard box with the goal gaping, Antonio could only head against the bar. How the Hammers weren’t level was a mystery.
After a wave of West Ham pressure, Watford finally found their rhythm at the other end again. Pereyra found himself in space of the left side and linked up well with Deulofeu with some quick interchanges. Deulofeu controlled Pereyra’s pass perfectly before arrowing a shot into the far corner, 2-0 and the points were surely wrapped up now.
The whistle blew for full time meaning Watford recorded back to back victories whilst denying West Ham the chance to win 5 on the bounce.
Watford are to host Chelsea next week while West Ham visit an inform Southampton side in the Premier League.