West Ham edged past Watford to keep their top four dreams alive as Jarrod Bowen was once again the hero.
After back-to-back defeats, West Ham are back on track.
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The Hammers and Hornets were locked in a tight battle for most of this game but West Ham’s man of the moment had a pop from distance which deflected in, as Bowen was the difference throughout.
In a huge surprise from David Moyes, West Ham center back Kurt Zouma started and was roundly booed every time he touched the ball. That was due to a video emerging of Zouma kicking and hitting his own cat, something he has issued an apology for and West Ham say they are dealing with the incident internally.
With the win West Ham moved on to 40 points for the season and sit fourth in the table, while Watford sit second from bottom and have 15 points.
West Ham vs Watford final score, stats
West Ham 1-0 Watford
Goals scored: Bowen 68′
Shots: West Ham 9, Watford 6
Shots on target: West Ham 3, Watford 1
Possession: West Ham 65, Watford 35
Three things we learned from West Ham vs Watford
1. Bowen is flying: Six goals in his last six games in all competitions shows exactly why Jarrod Bowen is in the form player in the PL right now. The electric forward is pushing for an England call-up in March. What more can he do? Consistency is key and Bowen has been superb all season long. He creates chances, never stops running and even though there was a healthy slice of luck in his winning goal, Bowen has earned that. He hit the post and was a constant threat and he is the difference-maker for the Hammers this season.
2. Organized Watford should have hope: New boss Roy Hodgson has made them tough to beat as they’ve conceded just twice in his first 180 minutes in charge. The negative? They have yet to score under the experienced coach and had just one shot on target. There was enough here against West Ham to suggest they can get out of trouble, though. Watford were dangerous out wide and were a threat on the counter. The longer Hodgson has in charge, the better Watford will get in those transitions. The only problem is they have just 16 games left to try and save themselves. He may save Watford but it seems like Hodgson should have been appointed instead of Ranieiri back in October.
3. Zouma booed as Moyes chooses to play him: After a video emerged of Kurt Zouma kicking and hitting his own cat, the West Ham center back issued an apology and the club released a statement saying the matter is being dealt with internally. David Moyes decided to start Zouma and the French international was booed every time he touched the ball. Moyes’ rationale for starting Zouma as he is ‘one of our better players’ was weak and there should be serious ramifications for Zouma in the coming days. This should have been handled a lot better by Moyes and West Ham and Zouma should not have been playing in this game.
Man of the Match: Jarrod Bowen – The most dangerous player on the pitch and never gave up.
Hornets a threat on the break
West Ham had plenty of the ball in the first half but Watford looked dangerous on the break.
On one such occasion Kamara broke free and crossed for Kucka but he headed wide. Moussa Sissoko also went close from the edge of the box.
At the other end Ben Foster denied Said Benrahma and his rebound hit the post, as West Ham finally got going.
Hammers get lucky break
West Ham were on the front foot in the second half and Bowen had a pop from distance which hit Samir and deflected in to give the hosts the lead.
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Despite that unlucky break, Watford kept plugging away as Josh King and Emmanuel Dennis caused problems.
But Foster did push Bowen’s low shot onto the post late on, as West Ham grabbed a big win.