West Ham vs Watford prediction: West Ham United 2-1 Watford
West Ham have enjoyed a good record against Watford. They have won 10 of the 15 matches between the two sides.
However, in more recent history, West Ham have only managed 3 wins in the last 12 matches between the two teams. This includes a 2-0 win here last season. Watford likewise won their corresponding home fixture 2-0 also.
Watford’s last win here was certainly a memorable one. West Ham quickly raced into a 2-0 lead in the first 35 minutes. Michail Antonio heading in a Dimitri Payet corner in the 5th minute. Then repeating the feat on 33 minute from a Dimitri Payet cross.
Odion Ighalo then began the fightback on 41 minutes before Troy Deeney grabbed an equaliser with the last kick before the half-time whistle. Étienne Capoue and José Holebas then completed the 2-4 comeback with a further two goals in the second half.
It is a match that often sees a lot of goals. There have been an average of 2.8 goals per game here. West Ham have also scored at least 2 goals in their last 3 home matches against Watford in the Premier League.
West Ham United vs Watford: Who will win?
West Ham come into the game having won their last 4 Premier League games. They are 11/8 favourites to extend their winning run to 5 games.
After a good start to the season, winning their first 4 games of the season, Watford’s home win against Cardiff last weekend was their first in 7 games. They have won just 2 of their last 20 away. If you believe they can upset the form guide with a win, they are 21/10.
Only 1 of Watford’s 15 visits to West Ham have ended in a draw. If you believe a stalemate between these sides is on the cards on Saturday, the odds are 5/2.
West Ham United vs Watford: Who will score?
Without key attacking pair, Andriy Yarmolenko and Marko Arnautovic, West Ham have been relying heavily on Anderson from midfield and their depth in the attacking positions.
Chicharito has 3 goals in his last 4 appearances. He is 11/2 joint favourite to open the scoring. 8/5 to score at any time.
Andy Carroll continues his comeback from injury and has been involved in the last 3 games, albeit from the bench. He is 11/2 joint favourite with Chicharito to open the scoring. 8/5 to score at any time.
Felipe Anderson looks like he has finally found his groove in the Premier League. He has 5 goals from his last 7 games for them. He looks good value at 9/4 to get on the scoresheet here. He is 15/2 to do so as first scorer.
Troy Deeney has 2 goals in 5 appearances in the Premier League against West Ham. He is 21/10 to add to his goals tally here; 7/1 as first scorer.
Gerard Deulofeu has been in good form as of late. He scored the first and created the second in the 3-2 win against Cardiff last time out. He is 17/2 to be first scorer again here. 13/5 to score at any time during the game.
West Ham United vs Watford: Match preview
West Ham started the season in a bit of a mess, tactically. Manuel Pellegrini came in with an extremely different philosophy from those who proceeded him.
Sam Allardyce, Slaven Bilić, David Moyes are your stereotypical, relegation battling, Premier League managers. The football is very physical, focus on shape and preventing space rather than time on the ball. Attacks are more direct. Their midfield typically loaded with runners rather than more technical or tactical players.
On top of this, a large number of players were needing to be introduced to the club and the Premier League. The result was an entire squad of players who were needing to adjust in some form to new circumstances. It was always going to be a rough start for them.
Expected Goals models showing how well West Ham have adapted
The above graph shows the progression of the two sides over the course of the season so far.
In terms of xGA, you can see as they struggled with the tactics at the start of the season, sides were opening them up at will. The Liverpool game to start the season perfectly highlighted their problems with the system. Players were too man-oriented and got pulled out of position easily to give Liverpool space to hurt them in front of their defence.
But with time on the training pitches, it has improved. Their xGA has now levelled out to a point where they are giving up chances worth a little over 1 goal against per game.
At the other end of the pitch, the transition from a more physical form of attack to a smarter, more technical one, is still ongoing. They are creating better quality of chances and now creating chances worth 1.5+ goals per game; more than treble where they started the season at. It is still trending upwards too, which suggests there is even more to come from this side. Especially when players like Lanzini, Yarmolenko and Arnautovic are available to them who all look perfect for this brand of football.
Will the real Watford please stand up
Watford started the season promising a lot. They were holding their own with Liverpool, City, and Chelsea with a 100% record after 4 games; underlined with an impressive 2-1 win against Spurs.
However, it has mostly been downhill since then. Looking at the xGA chart in particular highlights why. They conceded just 2 goals in their first four games. This matches the ~0.5 xGA they were trending with at the start of the season. It rose quickly and has fluctuated between 1 and 1.7 xGA since.
This is also compounded by Ben Foster’s struggles in goal for them. He holds one of the worst save percentages in the league at just 62.7%; only Marcos Bettinelli has performed worse in a much smaller sample of games. In contrast, Fabianski is the top shot stopper, in terms of this metric, outside the top 5 clubs in the league. He is saving 72.5% of the shots faced this season.
All of which suggests that West Ham, with home advantage, will win the game in both boxes. They have the technical ability to open up Watford’s defence to create quality chances. They also have the superior goalkeeper to prevent those chances being converted into goals.
West Ham United team news vs Watford
Andriy Yarmolenko, Carlos Sanchez, Winston Reid, Marko Arnautovic, Jack Wilshere, Ryan Fredericks and Manuel Lanzini are all ruled out due to injury.
Lucas Perez is a doubt for the game. He was suffering some ankle pain after the last match and faces a late fitness test.
Andy Carroll and Michail Antonio compete for his starting spot in attack should Perez miss out.
Watford team news vs West Ham United
Will Hughes, Andre Gray, Sebastian Prodl, and Adalberto Penaranda are all ruled out due to injury.
Daryl Janmaat is back in training and available for selection again. He now faces the challenge of trying to displace Femenía from the starting line-up.
Domingos Quina shone against Cardiff at the weekend. He scored the first goal of his professional career and will hope to keep his place in the team here.
Predicted West Ham United team vs Watford
Predicted Watford team vs West Ham United
The latest tweets from West Ham United pre Watford
MODIBO MAIGA!!! This win against Spurs 5️⃣ years ago today… 🙌 pic.twitter.com/757rIGW6qd
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) December 19, 2018
The latest tweets from Watford pre West Ham United
— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) December 19, 2018
🔥 | What a hit! 😍
Domingos Quina's first @premierleague strike was one to remember.
— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) December 18, 2018
👋🏼 👊🏼 | Back to winning ways!
— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) December 17, 2018
🎥 | See all the goals again!
— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) December 16, 2018
All odds mentioned in this article are correct at the time of publishing and are subject to change.