Saturday, February 24, 2018

Prediction: West Ham vs Watford

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 17/20

Bookmaker: Bet365

Coming off the back of their dramatic 4-1 win over defending champions Chelsea on Monday night, Watford will make the short journey across London to face a West Ham side who have begun to slip back to their old ways.

West Ham

Despite finding some initial success under new boss David Moyes, the Hammers have recently begun to slip back to their old ways and now find themselves at the heart of a relegation battle. Although they may have briefly flirted with the top half of the table, West Ham currently sit in 12th position, however, Moyes side still only hold a three-point advantage over the bottom three. For the east London club, West Ham’s recent poor run of form continued last weekend, suffering a 3-1 defeat at fellow relegation contenders Brighton, the Hammers are now without a win in their last four.

Team News

West Ham United will be without Pedro Obiang, who underwent surgery to repair the medial collateral ligament in his right knee this week. Arthur Masuaku is suspended, while Andy Carroll, Manuel Lanzini and Edimilson Fernandes are also injured.

Winston Reid, Michail Antonio and Jose Fonte have returned to the squad in recent weeks, while Marko Arnautovic has resumed training following his hamstring injury. New signing Patrice Evra could feature after arriving this week.

Watford

As for the visitors, Watford will be making the short journey across London with their confidence at an all-time high, under the guidance of new boss Javi Garcia, the Hornets managed to clinch a dramatic 4-1 home win over defending Premier League champions Chelsea on Monday night. Their much needed three points gives Watford some breathing space over the bottom three. After going on a run that saw them win one top-flight matchup in 14 attempts, the Hornets began to worry that they could be pulled into a late relegation battle. However, after picking up points against Chelsea and Stoke, Watford have now have a six-point buffer between themselves and the bottom three.

Team News

For Watford, Craig Cathcart could return after a knee problem, but Nathaniel Chalobah is absent with a knee injury of his own, along with hamstring victims Will Hughes and Kiko Femenia.

Christian Kabasele, Molla Wague, Miguel Britos and Tommie Hoban are also sidelined.

Key Factors to Consider

  • West Ham have won just one of their last five home games against Watford (D1, L3).
  • Watford could do the league double against West Ham for the first time.
  • West Ham are vying to go five successive league and cup games without defeat for the first time at the London Stadium.
  • The Hornets won their opening three Premier League away matches of the season but have since only managed one victory and five points from 10 games (W1, D2, L7).
  • Watford have the chance to win back-to-back league games for the first time since November.

Conclusion

Although the Hornets will travel to the Olympic Stadium high on confidence, Watford’s overall form in the Premier League is a concern though. They have won just two of their last 13 Premier League matches and have lost eight times during that period. With Watford failing to win a single away game in their last seven attempts, West Ham will be looking to get back to winning way and extend the gap over the bottom three. On paper though, it has all the makings of a low scoring affair, with Watford struggling to find the net away from home and five of West Ham’s last seven home games seeing under three goals, the trend looks to continue on Saturday afternoon.

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 17/20

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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