Premier League
West Ham United 0 Watford 2

Saturday, 22nd December 2018
by Staff Writer

West Ham fell to a first defeat in five at the hands of Watford at the Olympic Stadium this afternoon.

A goal either side of the half time interval from the visitors was enough for Javi Gracia's side to take all three points on a day in which nothing quite went right for West Ham.

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And as a result Troy Deeney's first half effort, complemented by a second from Deulofeu in the closing moments after West Ham had hit the woodwork twice was enough to condemn United to a first defeat in December.

The Hammers, free-scoring in recent weeks but unable to find the net today did manage to hit the woodwork twice - with both incidents involving Michail Antonio - but their luck simply ran out in the final match before Christmas.

Although West Ham started the livelier of the two teams Watford were frequently finding space in and around United's penalty area. When the opening goal arrived - a penalty converted by Troy Deeney following a Fabian Balbuena foul - there was perhaps a sense of inevitability about it.

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One-nil down at the break, West Ham were looking to repeat their second half heroics of the Crystal Palace and Cardiff matches. Had Michail Antonio's deft header from Robert Snodgrass' corner hit the inside of the post rather than the outside, a third consecutive comeback may have been on the cards.

Or, if Javier Hernandez had converted either of the two big chances that fell his way as the second half wore on. The first, inside the six-yard box after some clever play from Felipe Anderson resulted in an uncharacteristic airshot; it was that sort of day.

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Yet the best chance of the half for West Ham to rescue something from the game fell in the 85th minute to Antonio, once again, who was left with an open goal after Ben Foster had made a great save from a Snodgrass header.

With the entire stadium already celebrating, the woodwork intervened to deny the Hammers a point - the very least Manuel Pellegrini's side had deserved from what had otherwise been a fairly entertaining match.

The defeat results in West Ham dropping out of the top half of the table into 12th, with a trip to Southampton on Boxing Day next. Merry Christmas, everyone.

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West Ham Utd: Fabianski, Zabaleta, Diop, Balbuena (Ogbonna 34), Masuaku, Snodgrass, Noble (Carroll 56), Rice, Anderson, Antonio, Hernandez (Diangana 75).

Subs not used: Adrian, Cresswell, Obiang, Silva.

Booked: Balbuena, Diop, Antonio.

Watford: Foster, Femenia, Cathcart, Kabasele, Holebas, Capoue, Doucoure, Sema (Cleverley 75), Pereyra, Deulofeu (Mariappa 90), Deeney (Success 86).

Subs not used: Gomes, Masina, Quina, Okaka.

Booked: Kabasele, Holebas.

Goals: Deeney (30 pen), Deulofeu (87).

Referee: Lee Mason.

Tickets Sold: 56,833.

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Player Ratings

Lukasz Fabianski

Michail Antonio

Arthur Masuaku

Issa Diop

Angelo Ogbonna

Declan Rice

Mark Noble

Felipe Anderson

Robert Snodgrass

Javier Hernandez

Marko Arnautovic


Lucas Perez
(Replaced Arnautovic)

Andy Carroll
(Replaced Hernandez)

Grady Diangana
(Replaced Snodgrass)

Adrian San Miguel del Castillo
Did not play.

Pablo Zabaleta
Did not play.

Fabian Balbuena
Did not play.

Pedro Obiang
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski, Michail Antonio, Arthur Masuaku, Issa Diop, Angelo Ogbonna, Declan Rice, Mark Noble, Felipe Anderson, Robert Snodgrass, Javier Hernandez, Marko Arnautovic.

Goals: Lucas Perez 49 Lucas Perez 54 Michail Antonio 61              .

Booked: None.

Sent off: None.

Watford: Foster, Femenia, Cathcart, Kabasele, Holebas, Capoue, Doucoure, Sema (Cleverley 75), Pereyra, Deulofeu (Mariappa 90), Deeney (Success 86).

Subs not used: Gomes, Masina, Quina, Okaka.

Goals: Deeney (30 pen), Deulofeu (87).

Booked: Kabasele, Holebas.

Sent off: None.

Referee: Lee Mason.

Attendance: 56,833.

Man of the Match: Declan Rice.