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With a controversial offside call going against them at Old Trafford, it means West Ham’s hopes of a top-four finish have now diminished and if they are to get them back on track, nothing less than a win over Watford will do.
While as for Watford, they have now said goodbye to Claudio Ranieri and with Roy Hodgson taking the reins, the former England manager will have the unenviable task of trying to keep the Hornets up.
With Roy Hodgson’s appointment as Watford manager, it means an element of caution is now required from a betting point of view and for those who like a new manager bounce, this could be the ideal environment for you.
However, Watford are languishing near the bottom of the table for a reason and that is because of their propensity to concede goals and if this issue is not fixed, it will end up being their undoing.
At the same time, both Emmanuel Dennis and Josh King are good for a goal when it matters and therefore backing both teams to score at odds of 4/5, looks like being a more sensible bet.
After an agonising defeat to Manchester United before the international break, West Ham’s hopes of Champions League qualification have taken a severe dent and although hindsight is a wonderful thing, playing for a draw may not have been the worst plan either.
Something that looked like being the case for 90 plus minutes and had the Hammers shown better game management in the dying seconds, they would have returned to East London with a share of the points.
However, that loss to Manchester United has meant something of a setback in terms of dining at Europe’s top table and just like last season, they may well have to do with finishing in the Europa League paying positions instead.
With that said, David Moyes’ men are still a going concern in the current edition of the Europa League and if they were to win the competition at the first time of asking, they would be handed a backdoor entry to the Champions League as well.
Then again, European dreams are not on the agenda just yet and if they are to return to continental football, they will need to make sure that wins against the likes of Watford continue to be a formality.
In terms of injuries and suspensions going into the visit of Watford, West Ham will be able to call upon the returning Said Benrahma and with Angelo Ogbonna being the only long-term absentee at present, the Hammers have a relatively clean bill of health.
The more things change, the more things stay the same and although football is known to constantly evolve, Watford are continually known for their backwards thinking in terms of managerial appointments.
That is not to cast any aspersions on Roy Hodgson, as the former England boss is the latest incumbent to take over at Vicarage Road, it is more the fact that he is the Hornets’ third manager of this season.
The short-termism that operates throughout the Watford board is laughable to many outside the club, but those within the club’s hierarchy stand by their approach to hire and fire with such regularity.
While for Roy Hodgson, he is almost in a no-lose situation and if he does manage to steer Watford clear of the relegation zone, he will be lauded as a hero. While failure to keep them up, will at least see a nice lump of severance pay to go with his sacking.
Now we will see if the old dog can rely on his old tricks and in doing so, halt the slide of a struggling Watford side. If he does, the Watford owners will be justified in the sacking of Claudio Ranieri and if he does not, many will ask why the Italian was dismissed.
In terms of injuries and suspensions for the trip to West Ham, Watford will be able to recall the trio of William Troost-Ekong, Adam Masina from AFCON duty but they are still without Ismalia Sarr who has been out since November.
It is not quite a London derby, but it is very close and with Watford finding themselves within the M25, they will not have too far to travel for this keenly anticipated encounter.
In terms of their overall head-to-head record, West Ham have won on 46 occasions, Watford 21 and there have been 13 draws
Although there were teething problems to start with, the London Stadium seems to be in much fuller voice these days and although this is probably helped by West Ham performing well, it is fair to say that this ground is now becoming something of a fortress for the Hammers.
With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted in England, it means there is no longer the need to show a Vaccine Passport before attending the ground. Which means, match tickets are the only item that is required to be produced at the time of writing.
After suffering defeat to Manchester United, West Ham need to get matters back on track and if they were to play Watford a couple of weeks ago, they would be considered as the ideal opposition.
However, a change of manager for the Hornets will have changed their outlook considerably and with Roy Hodgson looking to supply a new manager bounce to this new employers, this one is no longer the foregone conclusion that was first expected.