West Ham 0-2 Watford: Hornets stun an in-form Hammers side on the road
Watford climbed up to 6th place in the standings with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over West Ham at the London Stadium on Saturday. It was the second win on the trot for Javi Gracia’s men after beating Cardiff City 3-2 in a thrilling encounter last week.
The visitors started the game on a good note and showed more intent right from the kick-off. Roberto Pereyra and Gerard Deulofeu posed a constant threat up front and the Hornets made life difficult for West Ham.
West Ham had a chance early in the game, with Felipe Anderson’s headed flick-on finding Michail Antonio who fired a powerful shot on target. However, it did not cause any major headaches for Ben Foster between the sticks.
There was nothing much to choose between the two sides and Jose Holebas latched on to a cross from the right to find himself in acres of space inside the box, only to allow Pablo Zabaleta to close him down with a poor first touch.
Watford kept probing away with good link-up play and their efforts soon paid the dividends. Roberto Pereyra was brought down inside the box by a rather cynical-looking challenge from Fabian Balbuena and Troy Deeney stepped up to put the visitors in the driver’s seat from the resultant penalty.
The Hammers had a golden chance towards the end of the first half but Javier Hernandez’s shot from close range was kept out spectacularly by Foster.
With Watford leading 1-0, West Ham pushed more men forward in the quest for an equaliser. Michail Antonio hit the post from a corner but it was Abdoulaye Doucoure who had the best chance early in the second half.
Lukasz Fabianski produced a fine save to keep out the Frenchman’s effort but the pressure from Watford was relentless and the Hornets kept creating chances to keep the hosts on their toes.
Watford had several other chances to extend their lead but West Ham have only themselves to blame for missing arguably the easiest chance of the game.
Grady Diangana did brilliantly to find space down the right with some nimble footwork and his cross was headed onto the crossbar by Robert Snodgrass. The ricochet off the post was meant to be a simple tap-in for Antonio but he once again hit the post from the rebound.
The visitors made the Hammers pay for their poor finishing towards the dying stages of the game as Roberto Pereyra and Doucoure combined with Deulofeu to set up the Spaniard for the second goal.
West Ham missed the chance to make it five out of five while Javi Gracia has every reason to be happy with his team’s convincing performance away from home.
Here’s how the Watford fans reacted to the win:
Watford worked hard for 2-0 win at WHU. Capoue inpressive on return from ban, Foster making top save from team-mate Cathcart deflection just before well worked 2nd goal. Head coach Javi Gracia delighted with all round display #WHUWAT #PL
— Tony Jones (@tonyjonescomm) December 22, 2018
Pereyra and Deulofeu are simply unstoppable when they play like this. #WHUWAT
— Rich Mortimer (@rmhornet) December 22, 2018
Deulofeu scored again today. Good to see him coming back in form slowly.#WHUWAT
— Nahiyan (@N4hiyan) December 22, 2018
Deeney is an absolute legend. Too hardcore for an arrogant West Ham team, could have had a hattrick #WHUWAT
— Craig Melson (@craigmelson) December 22, 2018
— Stephen Hoffman (Ironically) (@thehoff102) December 22, 2018