Hammer Time For West Ham And Hornets In Relegation Clash

Friday's only Premier League game sees a relegation six-pointer as 16th placed West Ham United take on 17th placed Watford at the London Stadium.

West Ham will be buoyant going into the fixture following on from a 4-0 demolition of Norwich City that saw their opponent relegated to the second tier of English football. It really was a one-man band as Michail Antonio bagged his first career hat trick as he scored all four goals for the Hammers in what was easily the most memorable game of his career.

West Ham have won two in their last five matches, the second of those victories coming against a Champions League-chasing Chelsea.

The Hammers will be hoping for a victory so that they can all but plan ahead for another season in the Premier League, ahead of what would be David Moyes’s first summer transfer window as manager of the club in what is his second spell. No doubt he’s already been on the phone to Victor Anichebe!

Moyes has had quite the managerial career that peaked when he was in the dugout at Manchester United – replacing the legend that is Sir Alex Ferguson. Moyes’s managerial career has seen him take charge of over 900 games, and he’s still counting – but he’s only managed to win five games as West Ham manager since taking over from Manuel Pellegrini earlier in the season.

Perhaps this nail-biting fixture will be a game for the goalkeepers, as both Lukasz Fabianski and Ben Foster respectively always seem to draw plaudits regardless of whether or not their team finishes high or low in the table. But one thing is for sure, it really is tense at the foot of the table as both sides sit on 34 points from 35 matches – three points clear of the relegation zone.

Watford will also go into the match on a high as they managed to defeat Newcastle United thanks to not one, but two Troy Deeney penalties. Manager Nigel Pearson has said ahead of the game that his players need to “free themselves of pressure” as they look to make the following two games that much easier on paper. Since taking charge, Pearson has seven victories under his belt – which is quite something when you consider that the Hornets have only won eight in the league all season.

Would it be so bad for either side to just pass the ball between themselves for 90 minutes – draw the game and move four points clear of the relegation zone with just two fixtures remaining? Neither team has a comfortable run in as West Ham have to go to their manager's former side Manchester United, as well as fellow relegation strugglers Aston Villa. It looks worse for Watford though as they have to take on Manchester City and Arsenal. An outlook which really does show just how vital it is for both teams to pick up points this evening.

As for a score prediction, I think it’s going to be incredibly tight and the longer it remains goalless – the more likely it is that both sides might just settle for a point.

Match Report written by Matt Davey