To call me a Happy Hammer is merely an understatement. And a big one at that! West Ham United have cruised to a 2-0 win over Watford at the London Stadium, and it’s time to recount it all with Five Things We Learned: West Ham 2-0 Watford.
5: Strange Team-sheet from David Moyes
When the team sheet came out, I was pleasantly surprised to see our Austrian friend back, but Marko Arnautovic shook off the shakey start and smashed home a brilliant goal to seal the win for West Ham United.
However, more surprisingly, Michail Antonio was put in as a Left Wing-Back, covering the suspended Arthur Masuaku, instead of claiming his usual spot up top, or on the Right Wing. Joao Mario and Chicharito both retained their spots in the Starting XI and Jose Fonte remained on the bench, while new signings Patrice Evra and Jordan Hugill both remained benched this week as well.
No Winston Reid in this squad as David Moyes mentioned in his Press Conference ahead of the game that Reidy had been sick with a throat infection. All-in-all, it was an interesting team-sheet but the Starting XI performed brilliantly.
4: Defending from James Collins and Angelo Ogbonna was excellent.
If anyone deserves a new contract at the moment, it’s James Collins. His partnership with Angelo Ogbonna during today’s game was excellent. After Watford made two clear attempts on goal, both Collins and Ogbonna defended superbly to deny Watford twice. The teamwork between these two showed why Collins deserves a new contract and why Ogbonna signed his new contract.
Collins, who retired from International football last year, was linked with a move to Brighton and Hove Albion last month, but has remained at West Ham United, saying he wants to stay for a little longer.
I think we all can agree his playing days aren’t over just yet, but the partnership between Collins and Ogbonna won’t be broken... Just yet!
3: The slow return of crucial players
If club captain Mark Noble is Mr West Ham, then Marko Arnautovic is a close second, I think. Following Marko’s brief lay-off due to a hamstring injury, the Austrian forward returned to the Starting Xi this week, having been a ‘maybe’ during David Moyes’ Press Conference earlier in the week, yet it didn’t stop him from putting on a brilliant performance. Despite having a few shakes to begin with, Arnautovic won the game with a 78th minute wonder goal which appeared to have come from a ball which magically appeared at his feet.
However, this is a sign of more to come as we look to lessen the amount of injuries at the club with Manuel Lanzini taking to the club’s official Snapchat account to say he’d be back ‘soon’. I, for one, look forward to having Lanzini back, especially with Inter Milan loanee Joao Mario waiting to work alongside Manu upon his return.
The additions of Winston Reid and Andy Carroll would be good as well. Reidy will be able to provide extra cover for Ogbonna, Collins and Cresswell, alongside Fonte on the bench, however the chances of Carroll getting any more game time appear to be vanishing by the day as the 29-year old Forward struggles to reclaim fitness.
2: Younger Players used to round out games.
The tactics of David Moyes continue to impress me as we see more and more of him, week in, week out. Moyes has come to use the older, more experienced, players for the majority of the Premier League matches, while allowing the younger players to come onto the pitch as substitutes to gain more experience for their careers, helping to round out the last few minutes of Premier League matches.
And the substitutions today can back that up.
Take Sam Byram, for example. He’s had the majority of his experience come from the first team, filling in as Right Back several times and included in the Starting XI on numerous occasions. Moyes elected to take Joao Mario off the pitch and replace him with Sam Byram at 77 minutes. 13 minutes for Byram to play, not including the 3 minutes of added time.
Marko Arnautovic came off for U23 Captain Declan Rice at 83 minutes, providing just 7 minutes for Rice to play in normal time.
And finally, Jordan Hugill had only 2 minutes of normal time to play, replacing Chicharito who’d walked off the pitch to a standing ovation.
So, our youth are getting a chance to play top flight football at West Ham United. But it is limited as they are only given a few moments at a time to round out the game and assist the older lads in securing the points.
1: A strike-force has been born
Chicharito’s 38th minute goal and Arnautovic’s 78th minute goal both won the game for West Ham United, but both appear to have formed a brilliant partnership with each other as both looked to set each other up on goal throughout the game.
Chicharito, who previously had a goal disallowed, had his counted goal assisted by Michail Antonio, and Marko Arnautovic had his assisted by Aaron Cresswell, yet these two continued to play tika-taka between each other, forming a bond of solidarity between each other.
While it’s clear Arnautovic misses his regular support partner in Manuel Lanzini, the partnership between these two continues to grow, and hopefully we see more coming from these two in the future!
Check out our last video, addressed to the Board of West Ham United
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