West Ham v Watford: Hornets can add to Hammers' problems

Javi Gracia's side thrashed Chelsea on Monday
Javi Gracia's side thrashed Chelsea on Monday
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Simon Mail previews this weekend's match at West Ham and thinks Watford can come away with a positive result following their superb win over Chelsea...

"Watford have won three of the last five clashes against West Ham and the Hornets must come into this game full of momentum and confidence after the way they defeated Chelsea."

West Ham v Watford
Saturday, 15:00

Hammers still looking over their shoulders

David Moyes took over West Ham in a state of crisis with the side inside the Premier League relegation zone in November. The former Manchester United and Everton boss has certainly improved their results and guided the club out of the bottom three. But the Hammers are still not safe sitting only three points above the drop zone in 12th position and last week's 3-1 defeat at Brighton was a worrying result.

West Ham have not been helped by injury problems to a number of influential players including attackers Manuel Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic. Moyes certainly needs them back to add more quality in the final third while the club this week made the surprise signing of left-back Patrice Evra until the end of the season. There still looks to be enough ability in the squad to avoid relegation but the club will want to get closer to 40 points quickly to avoid a nervous end to the season.

Memorable win over Chelsea lifts Watford's spirits

It is all change at Watford once again after Marco Silva was sacked last month after a wretched run of form, which the board blamed on a loss of focus after not being allowed to join Everton. The Hornets moved quickly to appoint Javi Gracia as their head coach and the Spaniard enjoyed a dream first game at Vicarage Road after his side thrashed champions Chelsea 4-1 on Monday.

Watford's performance was superb, regardless of the appalling display of the visitors, with Barcelona loanee Gerard Deulofeu producing an excellent display of pace and flair which was capped with a first goal for the club. The victory puts Gracia's side three points and a place above this weekend's opponents. The Hornets are not safe either but their last result should be the lift they need to climb away from any danger.

Hornets fancied to claim points

West Ham are [2.6] favourites for this match but that looks too short to appeal. The Hammers have gone five games without a victory inside 90 minutes, which included FA Cup fixtures against League One Shrewsbury and Wigan, while the team have managed just one win in their last five home league games. This came against bottom side West Brom in the last minute so the hosts have not been reliable lately.

Watford are well worth consideration at [3.05] to claim back-to-back wins. The Hornets defeated West Ham 2-0 in Moyes' first game in charge in November and the club also won 4-2 at the London Stadium last season. Gracia's team were outstanding against Chelsea and if they come close to replicating this performance then an away win looks likely.

The draw is priced up at [3.4] which is also potentially tempting considering West Ham have been held in their last two home games. Watford also drew their last away game at Stoke so the stalemate has to be considered. But the Hornets have only drawn six of their 26 league matches this season and the visitors look well placed to add to West Ham's problems.

Watford worth backing to punish hosts

Watford have won three of the last five clashes against West Ham and the Hornets must come into this game full of momentum and confidence after the way they defeated Chelsea. The hosts are not playing well presently and may not cope with the pressure and expectations of their fans whereas Watford have already won four away matches this season and were victorious at this ground on their last visit. But with four draws in the Irons' last seven league games, it could be worth backing the visitors with money back if it ends level at [2.14].

Ref Watch

Graham Scott takes charge of this game and the referee has sent off four players this season including Watford's Miguel Britos against Brighton in August. Scott refereed Watford's 3-2 defeat at Everton and also West Ham's 3-0 victory at Stoke in December.

Opta Stat

Michail Antonio has scored six goals in his last seven games against Watford including a brace in West Ham's 4-2 home defeat to them last season. Antonio can be backed at 13/5.

***


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