While it wasn’t a “must win game” coming off the back of a win against Cardiff City the week before, it appeared the lads were in good form, up for a test against a Hammers team that had got the business done in the previous four games, scoring 11 goals. By all appearance this game should have been a high scoring affair. Watford performed as they have all season long, confident in possession, stalwart on defense and received a bit of early Christmas cheer as they defeated West Ham, 2-0
For those who watched the game from London Stadium, the game was closer than the final score. The game was sealed in the 87′ on a restart from Jose Holebas, sending a deep ball in, controlled by Roberto Pereyra, playing a quick give an go with Gerard Deulofeu at the penalty spot, slotting it home for Watford’s second goal to seal the victory.
In his post-game comments, manager Javi Gracia said, “I think we had a good performance today. We knew playing against West Ham in this good moment for them, it would be demanding and it was like we thought.” The only change from the Cardiff game, Etienne Capoue returning to the squad after suspension, a period in which Domingos Quina played exceptional!
Watford would get on the scoreboard after Roberto Pereyra darted into the penalty box and was taken down by Fabian Balbuena, who subsequently injured himself. Captain, Troy Deeney stepped up to the spot, facing Lukasz Fabianski, with three saves this season, had also saved the last three penalties taken by Deeney. This time, Deeney get his just reward with a well taken shot in the upper left corner, sending Fabianski the wrong way.
West Ham seemed to take a page from the Watford playbook, as they were unable to convert on many big chances over the course of 90 minutes. The Hammers hit the woodwork twice, sending 18 shots on goal. Ben Foster was kept busy making seven saves on the day. “It’s just bitterly disappointing because we have created chances, we’ve hit the bar, we’ve hit the post and their keeper has pulled off unbelievable saves, so it’s one of those games,” said midfielder, Robert Snodgrass.
Michail Antonio was a menace all game long, as the Watford defense had a tough time containing the big man. Unfortunately, it would be a long day for the forward, as he missed some gilded chances, sending two balls off the post, as Foster continued to pull off some excellent saves. Javier Hernandez had a chance to draw the Hammers level, but a bit late challenge from Abdoulaye Doucoure sent the ball wide of the goal.
Up next for the Hornets, a visit from Mauricio Sarri and Chelsea on Boxing Day. it’s been tough going recently, as Watford lost both games last season to the Blues. Watford. After this game, the Hornets have a good run of four games to cement their position in the upper part of the league table and secure some valuable points. Currently they occupy 7th in the league table on 27 points, just two behind a resurgent, Manchester United.