Match Report & Talking Points: Watford 1 West Ham United 4

A brace from Mark Noble and goals from Manuel Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic made sure West Ham finished the season in the top ten of the Premier League.

This is the first time the Hammers have finished in the top ten since moving to the London Stadium.

Watford started the brighter of the two sides, but it was West Ham that took the lead. Mark Noble played a nice one-two with Michail Antonio. The captain then dummied the ball past Kabasele and neatly tucked the ball into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal.

Watford tried to drag themselves level but with no avail. West Ham were making the most of their chances and doubled their lead. Antonio was at the heart of the action again as he beat two defenders and cannoned a shot onto the crossbar after a save from Foster. Manuel Lanzini was the first to react and headed the loose ball in the empty net. This was Lanzini’s first goal since the last game of last season.

Watford did get themselves back into the game early in the second half. Pablo Zabaleta played a horrific back pass, which Gerard Deulofeu latched onto and rounded Lukasz Fabainski to give Watford hope of an equalizer.

This hope however was quickly dampened. Jose Holebas was shown a straight red card for pulling Antonio down just outside the box. Referee Chris Kavanagh deemed that it was a clear goal-scoring opportunity and sent the Greek for an early bath.

Watford did stay in the match after the red card and had three different penalty appeals waved away. It wasn’t to be the Hornets day.

west ham
West Ham leapfrogged Watford to finish in the top ten of the Premier League for the first time since 2016.

West Ham however, then made the extra man count. Marko Arnautovic poached a goal on the seventy-second minute. Felipe Anderson hit the post from a controlled volley from a Pablo Zabaleta. Arnautovic was able to fire in the rebound. The big Austrian scored his tenth goal of the season.

The goal scoring was then capped off when Kiko Fermina brought down Antonio in the box for a clear penalty. West Ham captain Mark Noble stepped up a coolly slotted in his second and West Ham’s fourth of the afternoon.

Talking points

  1. Holebas’ red card worry.

Watford would be forgiven for keeping an eye on the FA Cup final against Manchester City next Sunday, hence why their performance might not have been up to scratch. The hornet’s however will be relieved to know that Jose Holebas will be available for selection after his red card was rescinded.

  1. Adrian and Carroll’s goodbyes?

After the match Adrian and Andy Carroll appeared to wave goodbye to the West Ham fans. There has been much speculation of both of their futures, but both would appear to be away from West Ham.

Carroll’s partner Billi Mucklow appeared to confirm this last week when she posted on her Instagram a photo of their family captioned “Farewell West Ham”. Carroll has suffered from massive injuries during his time at West Ham. The Geordie only played 126 games and scored 34 goals for the club. Carroll However does hold the claim for the best scored at the London Stadium so far.

Adrian, however, has played second fiddle to ‘Hammer of the year’ Lukasz Fabianski. The Spaniard appears to be set on a return to Spain in search for first team football. The goalkeeper made 125 appearances for the Hammers and has become a cult hero at the club. Adrian will be remembered mostly for his heroics in the FA Cup penalty shootout against Everton in 2015.

  1. Mark Noble shows his value.

For years West ham fans have for Noble to be given England call-up, these calls have all fallen flat. Since the midfielder turned 30-years-old fans opinion on him have changed from month to month. The former England under-21 captain has re-silenced those critics in recent weeks since his ‘Pirloesque’ performance against Tottenham Hotspur. His performance was capped off with a brilliant solo goal and a trademark penalty,

  1. Pellegrini’s successful first season?

After a terrible start to the season where West Ham lost their first four games Pellegrini has really improved the Hammers. This season Pellegrini’s team has scored more goals and conceded less compared to last season.  This mean that they saw a 2 place rise up the table from twelfth to tenth and become the second most improved side in the league in terms of points (10). Only Liverpool gained a bigger points improvement.

  1. Watford drop out of top ten

For most if the season Watford have been pushing Wolves for seventh place in the league. The Hornet’s however, have fallen away in the last third of the season, losing five of their last six games. Manager Javi Garcia will be positive though, his team are in a cup final which is they win will put them in the Europa League next season.

With the transfer window opening soon Watford could add to their strong squad and they could make a real push for top half next season.

Man of the match: Mark Noble

The west ham captain was brilliant at Vicarage Road and ran the midfield. Noble scored a brilliant solo effort for his first goal, dribbling and dummying his defender before finishing into the bottom corner. The Englishman also scored a trademark penalty, becoming West Ham’s second highest goals scorer (42) in the Premier League second to Paolo Di Canio (49).

Michail also gets a mention as he was also brilliant, the winger was instrumental in the first two goals and won the penalty for the fourth goal.

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