ADAM GOODWIN (@AGJournalism) shares his thoughts on Super Sunday's contest between Watford and West Ham from Vicarage Road in the Premier League.
Watford v West Ham | Sunday 13th August 2017, 16:00 | Sky Sports
The international break is finally over and, after some far from enthralling matches over the last couple of weeks, Watford and West Ham will hope to serve up some excitement as the Premier League returns.
In the last three meetings between these two, there’s been a combined total of ten goals and both teams have scored on all three occasions. Let’s hope for a similarly goal-laden clash this Sunday.
Watford has been the surprise package of the Premier League this season. Plenty of critics were tipping the Hornets for relegation and were sceptical of boss Marco Silva.
But they started the season with a thrilling 3-3 draw with Liverpool, and then beat Arsenal and very nearly defeat Premier League champions, Chelsea.
Watford currently sits in 9th place and, not only have they got some satisfactory results against the top teams, they’ve continuously put in great performances – something that has impressed fans and pundits alike.
There is, however, some uncertainty surrounding the club. Marco Silva has been heavily linked to the Everton job since the dismissal of Ronal Koeman, and the Portuguese manager is yet to play down these rumours.
When asked if this was to be his last game as Watford manager, his response was: “I really don't know.” This is likely to affect Siva, the players and the fans, and could be a reason to oppose Watford this Sunday.
Whilst Watford has started this season in an impressive manner, they’ve only won one game at home. That was the 2-1 victory over Arsenal and they’ll need to improve their form at Vicarage Road if they are to finish in the top half come to the end of the campaign.
If the West Ham board wanted to improve the relationship between the fans and the manager, appointing David Moyes after the sacking of Slaven Bilic doesn’t seem to be the way to go about it. The appointment of the Scot has been met with negativity from, not just the West Ham fans, but football fans in general.
Lots of people believed that after Moyes’ failure at his last few clubs, a younger, British manager should’ve been given the opportunity. That, of course, is not Moyes’ fault, but he has a lot to do to win these supporters over.
The Hammers haven’t won in their last four, conceding ten goals in the process – that’s something that David Moyes will have worked on in his first week as gaffer.
West Ham’s last three away games have resulted in draws and, although it was against West Brom, Burnley and Crystal Palace, these are all hard teams to play away from home and aren’t bad results.
There’s undoubtedly a lot of quality in the West Ham ranks and it’s up to Moyes to utilise that. One of their key players that won’t be available, however, is Javier Hernandez. The 29-year-old striker picked up a hamstring injury in Mexico’s 3-3 draw with Belgium and is still a week or two away from a return, according to David Moyes.
There are always doubts over Andy Carroll’s fitness but it appears he will be available on Sunday, which will be a huge boost for the Hammers ahead of this game.
The angle of attack
Surprisingly, West Ham has got a relatively respectable xpG and have scored in 14 of their last 20 away games. Despite missing Hernandez, they still have the attacking prowess of Carroll, Marco Arnautovic and, particularly Manuel Lanzini.
But they’re prone to conceding goals when playing away from the London Stadium – shipping 13 goals away from home since the start of the campaign.
After watching their start to the season, I’m more than happy to back goals when Watford is playing. Like West Ham, they’ve got plenty of impressive players going forward, including the exciting Brazilian Richarlison, and I fancy them to score at least one on Sunday.
Over 2.5 goals and both teams to score has landed in 5 of the last 6 Watford games and 4 of West Ham’s last 7 matches, and I think it’ll land again this Sunday. Back it at 6/5 with Sky Bet.
Watford v West Ham – Over 2.5 goals and both teams to score (6/5 Sky Bet)