West Ham all but safe after beating Watford

West Ham United all but guaranteed its Premier League safety with a 3-1 victory over fellow struggler Watford at the London Stadium on Friday with all its goals coming before half-time.
Tomas Soucek (in the air) heads home West Ham’s second goal against Watford
Tomas Soucek (in the air) heads home West Ham’s second goal against Watford

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What was expected to be a nervy contest between the sides perched immediately above the drop zone became something of a breeze for the home side. West Ham was 3-0 up after 36 minutes, thanks to goals by Michail Antonio, Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice.
Watford replied early in the second half through Troy Deeney, but the host stood firm to register back-to-back victories for the first time since August 2019. West Ham, which has two games remaining, moved above Brighton & Hove Albion into 15th spot with 37 points, six more than Bournemouth and Aston Villa who are in the relegation zone.
While it could still be caught, David Moyes’s side has a far better goal difference. Watford is only three points clear of the drop zone and, with its last two games against Manchester City and Arsenal, faces a nail-biting end to the season. Antonio had netted all four goals in West Ham’s 4-0 win at Norwich City and it took him only six minutes to continue his hot streak. The centre-forward fired the ball past Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster after it broke kindly for him in the penalty area. Four minutes later, Soucek’s thumping header from Jarrod Bowen’s cross left Watford facing an uphill battle. Rice then curled the ball home superbly from 30 metres to give the host some breathing space. Watford needed a response and got it in the 49th minute when Deeney converted after Abdoulaye Doucoure’s shot rebounded back to him off the post.
For a while it appeared that might spark an unlikely turnaround but West Ham, with skipper Mark Noble a calming influence on his 500th appearance for the club, never really looked like throwing away all its good work.
RESULT: West Ham United 3 beat Watford 1.

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