Chicharito & Arnautovic fire Hammers to Watford win
West Ham United 2 – 0 Watford
Chicharito and Marko Arnautovic struck either side of half-time to fire West Ham United back to winning ways at London Stadium on Saturday.
The Hammers duo scored the vital goals to see off a Hornets side fresh from beating Chelsea 4-1 earlier in the week, taking each of their tallies to seven for the season in the process.
Chicharito showed unerring accuracy to convert a Michail Antonio cross seven minutes before the interval, and although Watford upped the pressure after the interval, West Ham stood firm and made sure of the points 12 minutes from the end.
Arnautovic was the goalscorer, sweeping home from close range to mark his return from injury in style and sent the vast majority of the crowd home happy
The Hammers were handed a pre-match boost by Marko Arnautovic’s return to fitness, and the Austria international was straight back into the starting XI after missing the previous three games with a hamstring injury.
It was the visitors who threatened first, though, and Adrian had to be on his toes to push Adrian Mariappa’s goalbound header away with seven minutes played after Watford played a corner short and Jose Holebas delivered from the left.
Four minutes later Arnautovic showed the home crowd exactly what they had been missing during his time on the sidelines as he danced into the box with his quick feet. He went down and could well have been fouled, but the ball broke for Joao Mario who took the shot on, but was denied by keeper Orestis Karnezis’ legs.
The Hammers were pressing their visitors well and thought they had taken the lead just after the half hour when Chicharito rose to head Mario’s free-kick home, only for the celebrations to be cut short by the linesman’s flag.
That sparked the best spell of action of the opening period, with Adrian holding on to Etienne Capoue’s fierce drive at the second attempt moments later.
With 37 minutes on the clock Arnautovic really should have capped a fine half with a goal when James Collins’ header picked him out. The crowd waited for the net to bulge, but Karnezis was in the way.
It was not to matter though, as less than a minute later Antonio opened his legs to sprint past Daryl Janmaat and deliver the perfect cross for Chicharito to plant his header beyond Karnezis.
Eleven minutes after the interval Adrian had to be watchful again to stop Gerard Deulofeu’s dipping free-kick.
Watford were cranking up the pressure, but at the same time the Hammers could try to hit their visitors on the break and Chicharito twice went close to doubling the advantage with 71 minutes on the clock, first almost walking the ball in after breaking the offside trap, and then coming inches away from picking out Arnautovic with a low cross-shot.
Seven minutes later the hosts made the game safe, Aaron Cresswell’s determination following a short corner allowing him to charge down Holebas’ attempted clearance, deflecting the ball into Arnautovic’s path for a simple finish.
West Ham United: Adrian, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Zabaleta, Kouyate, Noble (c), Antonio, Mario (Bryam 77), Arnautovic (Rice 84), Chicharito (Hugill 88)
Subs: Hart, Evra, Fonte, Cullen
Goal: Chicharito 38, Arnautovic 78
Watford: Karnezis, Mariappa, Prodl, Holebas, Janmaat, Capoue, Doucoure, Zeegelar (Pereyra 56), Deulofeu (Lukebakio 75), Richarlison, Deeney (c)
Subs: Bachmann, Ndong, Gray, Carrillo, Mukena
Referee: Graham Scott