Watford's woes continue with another demoralising defeat – their seventh in a row in all competitions – whilst West Ham got a crucial first Premier League win of the season.
West Ham scored within the first three minutes, courtesy of a Mark Noble penalty after Manuel Lanzini was felled by Abdoulaye Doucoure. Andre Gray equalised 15 minutes later with an emphatic finish past Lukasz Fabianski.
Summer signing Sebastien Haller came close with a chance inside the box in the first half that he probably should have scored, whilst Andriy Yarmolenko grazed the post with a snap shot. Felipe Anderson also hit the woodwork with a header from a corner.
West Ham went ahead in the second half thanks to some great play from Anderson, leaving Haller to score a simple tap in - his first goal for the Hammers. This was followed by another goal from the striker, with a clever overhead kick into a gaping net.
The win is huge for the Hammers, who needed to put their slow start problems to bed quickly, but the problems continue to stack up for the Hornets. Javi Gracia needs a reaction from his players as soon as possible.
Key Talking Point
Watford came into the game looking for some form after two consecutive defeats, and two really poor performances.
Despite losing 3-1, they did look more like themselves. They created a huge amount of chances, and could have scored more goals if they were a little more clinical.
It will be pleasing for the manager that they showed improvement, but a 3-1 loss at home still isn't good enough. Something needs to happen - and fast.
Starting XI: Foster (6); Kiko (7); Dawson (6); Cathcart (6); Holebas (6); Doucoure (6); Capoue (6); Hughes (7); Cleverely (6); Deulofeu (7*); Gray (7)
Subs: Sarr (5); Welbeck (5); Quina (5)
Gerard Deulofeu showed the form that impressed many Premier League supporters last season, with constant running at West Ham's defence meaning he was in the middle of most attacks.
Perhaps his end product could have been better, but the signs are there for the Spaniard to suggest that he is close to getting back to his best.
Weird too that Watford took off imo their two best players in Hughes and Deulofeu. Massive call imo. Great for us!— Alex V (@ratfootalex) August 24, 2019
Key Talking Point
The return of Yarmolenko into the starting XI was a huge boost for the Hammers. After impressing early on last season, he suffered a serious injury in October which meant he was out of action for almost a year.
We took Yarmolenko off and now we’re winning 😁💪🏻⚒⚒⚒⚒— pokermush⚒ (@pokermush) August 24, 2019
However, his return wasn't a good one. He was clearly rusty and lacked any match fitness, constantly breaking down attacks with clumsiness and a poor touch. He was taken off after 56 minutes, but West Ham fans should be pleased with the fact that he's just back playing.
There is no doubt he will be a crucial figure for West Ham, but right now, he needs time to get back to his best.
Starting XI: Fabianski (6); Fredericks (6); Diop (6); Ogbonna (5); Masuaku (6); Noble (7); Rice (6); Yarmolenko (5); Lanzini (7); Anderson (7); Haller (8*)
Subs: Antonio (7); Fornals (6); Sanchez (N/A)
Despite being in and out the game, Haller showed some good all round qualities to suggest he's a pretty complete centre-forward.
Most crucially though, the striker scored his first two goals in a West Ham shirt to give them a big win, and he undoubtedly deserves the man of the match award.
Haller has been class, always in the right time at the right place. Proper striker.— Alex Armitstead (@armitsteadalex) August 24, 2019
Antonio has to start next game. Haller is the real deal.— Paul Knight (@pauljk75) August 24, 2019
Has the Javi Gracia bubble burst? It's too early to say, especially after an improved performance today. However, they are in desperate need of a victory, otherwise they may find themselves in a relegation dogfight over the course of the season.
West Ham on the other hand will be delighted with their first win of the season. Haller's first goals for the club are also a huge positive, and they will look to build on this.
The Hornets take on Coventry in the Carabao Cup in midweek - a game they will look to win and gain some confidence in - before they take on Newcastle in a pivotal game next week.
West Ham also have the chance to push on from this win, with games against Newport County and then Norwich to come.