West Ham end winless run with big win over Watford

Behind to Emmanuel Dennis’s early goal, West Ham ended up too powerful

West Ham United’s Mark Noble celebrates scoring at Vicarage Road. Photograph: Nigel French/PA

West Ham United’s Mark Noble celebrates scoring at Vicarage Road. Photograph: Nigel French/PA

 

Watford 1 West Ham 4

West Ham were still running hard deep into added time. David Moyes has turned them into one of the fittest teams in the Premier League and they did not look like they needed any rest when Nikola Vlasic finished off this comprehensive win over Watford, making it 4-1 with his first goal in claret and blue.

Behind to Emmanuel Dennis’s early goal, West Ham ended up too powerful for Watford. Mark Noble offered authority after coming in for his first start in the league this season, ensuring that the absence of Declan Rice was not felt too keenly.

There were fine goals from Tomas Soucek and Said Benrahma, who had an excellent game, and Watford were left to reflect on their eighth defeat in 10 games under Claudio Ranieri. West Ham’s faltering push for Champions League football is not over yet.

Moyes must have feared that the wheels were coming off when his team, who only had 48 hours to prepare after losing to Southampton on St Stephen’s Day, fell behind in the fourth minute. They have struggled at the back since losing Aaron Cresswell, Angelo Ogbonna and Kurt Zouma to injury and their defensive frailties were even more conspicuous because of the absence of Rice, who can usually be relied upon to shut down opposition attacks with his impeccable reading of the game.

Watford saw a chance to attack from the start. The hosts had barely trained after having their last three games called off because of Covid, but they did well to hide any signs of rustiness during the early stages. West Ham were pinned back from their own throw-in and when Joshua King crept inside to thread a pass through to Dennis, the striker took what was a half-chance at best by leaving Craig Dawson on the floor with a deft shimmy and using the space to aim a rising shot beyond Lukasz Fabianski.

West Ham had to be resilient and trust in their ability. They soon began to dominate. Noble was a calming presence once he had adjusted to the pace of the game and they could have been level before the 10th minute, only for Jarrod Bowen to spurn a decent chance when a loose ball reached him in the area.

Watford were too willing to sit on their lead. Michail Antonio had started to torment Franciso Sierralta and Craig Cathcart, Watford’s centre-backs, and it did not come as a surprise when the equaliser arrived in the 27th minute. The pressure had been growing, Benrahma seeing a stunning effort clip the bar, and Ranieri’s side paid for their lack of urgency when Bowen added some incision to a patient move, slipping a pass through for Soucek to spank a low shot past Daniel Bachmann.

Moussa Sissoko was the player guilty of dozing off when Soucek made one of his trademark runs from midfield and it was not long before West Ham were ahead. Manuel Lanzini sprayed a cutting ball down the left flank to Antonio and the striker sped clear before picking out Benrahma, who beat Bachmann with the aid of a deflection off Adam Masina.

West Ham, who had lost Pablo Fornals to a positive Covid test, had clearly decided Watford’s full-backs were weak links. The tricky Benrahma had the better of Kiko Femenía, who would have to make way for Imran Louza before the interval, and the hosts were fortunate not to fall further behind at the start of the second half. Bowen had volleyed past Bachmann from close range, but a VAR review confirmed that Soucek had fouled Dennis at the start of the move.

Watford, who were only able to name eight substitutes, almost took advantage of that reprieve. They countered at pace, pouring bodies forward when Noble sold himself in the middle, and it took a wonderful save from Fabianski to stop Sissoko from making it 2-2.

The game turned on that moment. Soon Watford were creating problems for themselves at the other end. Heaven knows what Masina was thinking of when he decided to let an aimless ball drift over his head on the right.

The left-back had not counted on Antonio charging past him and aiming a cross to the far post, where more farcical defending ended with Bachmann bringing Bowen down before the ball went behind. Another VAR check confirmed the inevitable and Noble confidently tucked the penalty away.

Watford, two points above the bottom three, had run out of ideas. Bachmann made a good block to deny Antonio, but Vlasic would have the final say. - Guardian

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.