February 10, 2018 / 5:15 PM / 12 days ago

Improving West Ham stall Watford's momentum

(Reuters) - West Ham overcame Watford 2-0 in a game with plenty of chances at the London Stadium on Saturday, putting the Hammers level on points with their opponents in the middle of the Premier League table.

Watford had been looking to maintain their recent momentum after their 4-1 midweek win over champions Chelsea.

But it was the home side’s Mexican striker Javier Hernandez who broke the deadlock in the 38th minute, heading in his seventh goal of the season at the far post after winger Michail Antonio wove through the Watford defence and sent in a long cross from the left.

West Ham’s midfielder Marko Arnautovic, back in the side after a hamstring injury, teamed up with new Portuguese signing Joao Mario to tug the Watford defence out of shape and create numerous chances throughout the game.

The powerful Austrian finally got his reward in the 78th minute, slotting home from close range after an attempted clearance ricocheted into his path, to join Hernandez on seven goals so far this campaign.

Moyes singled out Arnautovic for tongue-in-cheek praise after the game.

Soccer Football - Premier League - West Ham United vs Watford - London Stadium, London, Britain - February 10, 2018 West Ham United's Marko Arnautovic in action with Watford's Jose Holebas REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

“We’re not letting him off the hook - he can do more,” he said.

But he added: “You can see the impact he has for us. He’s got power, pace and quality on the ball ... He’s done enough damage and he’s a real threat.”

Slideshow (8 Images)

The result leaves the two sides level on 30 points apiece in the middle of the table, though still just five points above the relegation zone.

Watford’s best chance came in the second half when their Spanish winger Gerard Deulofeu was brought down about 25 yards from goal.

He took the resulting free-kick himself, whipping his shot in over the wall, but Hammers keeper Adrian dived full-length to his right to collect the ball and preserve the clean sheet.

“West Ham was more aggressive than us ... In the Chelsea game we were running and fighting, and today we didn’t do it enough,” Watford manager Javi Gracia told reporters after the game.

Moyes expressed satisfaction with his team’s clean sheet and with the three points that took the Hammers a bit further clear of the drop zone.

“We’ve done a job in trying to make sure we’re harder to play against,” he said. “We’re making sure there can be no problems for us between now and the end of the season.”

Reporting by Hugh Lawson,; Editing by Neville Dalton

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