- Both teams scored in 10 of West Ham’s last 14 Premier League home games.
- Both teams scored in each of the last two meetings between West Ham and Watford.
- Watford lost each of their last four Premier League away games.
- West Ham avoided defeat in five of their last eight Premier League home matches.
Crunch encounter in the race for survival
West Ham’s clash with Watford at the London Stadium on Friday evening is the very definition of a relegation six-pointer.
The clubs – locked on 34 points each with three games left to contest – are just three points clear of the dreaded drop zone, and a win for either team this week would all but guarantee their top flight status for another season.
David Moyes’s Irons warmed up for their crunch encounter with a huge 4-0 win over bottom club Norwich City at Carrow Road last Saturday – a victory that brought their recent points haul up to an impressive seven points from the 12 on offer in their last four assignments.
Michael Antonio’s stunning four-goal showing in East Anglia shot the Hammers to their first Premier League away win since December last year, and that triumph on their travels should provide West Ham with a timely shot of confidence ahead of Friday’s pivotal contest.
Back-to-back wins for Hornets
Watford gave their own survival chances a major boost over the past week with successive 2-1 Premier League victories over Norwich City and Newcastle at Vicarage Road.
The Hornets, who recorded back-to-back league wins for only the second time this season, came from behind to take maximum points in both games, though they needed a couple of spot kicks from Troy Deeney to overturn the deficit against the Magpies.
Watford’s away form however, continues to be relegation worthy, and Nigel Pearson’s side were turned over to nil each of their last four Premier League games on the road, winning just once in 11 attempts overall on their travels since early November last year.
Goals at both ends likely
West Ham’s 4-0 win over Norwich was an extremely rare event in that it provided the Irons with a clean sheet. Before their victory at Carrow Road, the Hammers had conceded at least once in each of the 14 Premier League fixtures they had contested between January 10 and July 8.
In a coincidental piece of statistical symmetry, West Ham also managed to keep just one clean sheet in their last 14 league games at the London Stadium, though they did hit back with goals of their own in 11 of those fixtures.
Both teams found the net, in fact, in 71% of West Ham’s last 14 Premier League home games – and we think the both teams to score market is worth exploring again for Friday’s hugely important tussle.
Watford have toiled in the final third as the visiting team quite often this season, however, buoyed by their recent consecutive wins, the Hornets will believe they can score against a West Ham side they registered against in each of the clubs’ last three meetings.
Interestingly, Watford both scored and lost the most recent two of those matches with the Irons – and unfortunately for Nigel Pearson’s charges, we see their latest duel playing out along similar lines.
Having avoided defeat in five of their last eight games on their own patch, West Ham have found form at home at just the right time, and powered by the momentum from their fine win at Norwich, our 2-1 correct score prediction backs the Irons to secure a potentially season-defining victory.
The Hammers averaged 1.75 goals per 90 minutes in their last eight home assignments, while Watford shipped an average 2.0 goals per game over their last four away fixtures. A combination of those figures coupled with West Ham’s inability to keep clean sheets at home makes a 2-1 final scoreline a likely outcome.
Key Battle: Michail Antonio vs Craig Dawson
Michail Antonio’s four-goal performance for West Ham at Carrow Road was a stunning display of top-class finishing, and the increasingly influential attacker should be swollen with self-belief ahead of the Irons’ meeting with Watford this week.
The 30-year-old, who has now scored six Premier League goals since the restart, once rattled home two goals in a single game against Watford in 2016 in a contest that the Hornets eventually won 4-2.
Antonio would take a better result over individual glory this time around, though the versatile attacker will have to win his duel with Watford’s Craig Dawson to ensure his team get the right result this week.
Dawson has been among the goals himself since the resumption of play last month, though the centre-half will need his defensive skills to be sharp to handle Antonio’s intelligence and skill.
West Ham vs Watford team news
Robert Snodgrass and Felipe Anderson are both ruled out again for West Ham this week. After their excellent performance at Norwich, don’t be surprised to see David Moyes name the same XI that trounced the Canaries.
Four-goal hero Michail Antonio will lead the line again, while Mark Noble should retain his place as an advanced midfielder ahead of Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice.
West Ham predicted line-up: Fabianski – Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell – Rice, Soucek – Bowen, Noble, Fornals – Antonio
Injured trio Gerard Deulofeu, Daryl Janmaat and Isaac Succcess are still sidlined for Watford and won’t feature.
Nigel Pearson could choose to start with the same team that came from behind to beat Newcastle last weekend. That would see Danny Welbeck keep his spot on the left flank.
Watford predicted line-up: Foster – Femenia, Kabasele, Dawson, Masina – Capoue, Hughes – Sarr, Doucoure, Welbeck – Deeney