West Ham have stuttered with back-to-back league defeats to Leeds and Man Utd, as well as requiring extra-time to see off Kidderminster Harriers in the FA Cup.
That last result saw Declan Rice score a 91st-minute equalizer, before Jarrod Bowen grabbed the winner in the 121st minute, but the defeat to the Red Devils was certainly more damaging as it leaves the Hammers a point behind Ralph Rangnick’s men having played a game more.
An encounter with struggling Watford represents a good opportunity to get back on track, with the relegation contenders having now lost eight of 10 winless games across all competitions and conceding at least three times on five occasions.
However, they have picked up points in two of their last three outings away at relegation rivals Newcastle and Burnley, albeit sandwiching a 3-0 defeat hosting Norwich.
Still, the goalless draw with Burnley does mean that Roy Hodgson has made an unbeaten start to his tenure, with that the Hornet’s first clean sheet in 21 appearances since a narrow League Cup win over Crystal Palace back in August.
Hodgson may know how to organize a defence, but shutting out Sean Dyche’s low-scoring side is one thing and the Hammers are likely to offer a greater threat in the final third.
The hosts have scored at least twice in each of their past four league games on their own patch, including three when Chelsea came to town at the beginning of December, as well as twice when hosting Leeds in the FA Cup.
West Ham To Win By One Goal
West Ham haven’t been goal-shy in the recent head-to-heads either, winning each of the last four as they scored at least three times in all of them, bagging 14 goals in total.
David Moyes will also have striker Michail Antonio back from international duty here, while his second-string players that disappointed against Kidderminster will be sure to find themselves back on the bench.
For the visitors, Emmanuel Dennis is back from suspension, though this game should come too soon for Ismaila Sarr after returning from winning the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal.
Although the Hammers are understandably strong favourites, they should be made to work hard for the points against a team that are likely to sit back and frustrate under new management.
It’s also worth noting that Watford haven’t been quite so dire on their travels, only losing by more than a single goal in one of their past nine league trips.
WEST HAM TO WIN BY ONE GOAL