Watford 1-4 West Ham: Player rating

8

West Ham put their disappointment of the latest form behind them with an extensive 4-1 victory over Watford at Vicarage Road.

Goals from Tomas Soucek, Said Benrahma, Mark Noble – from the penalty spot – and Nikola Vlasic were enough to overwhelm a Watford team that looked away from the pace of the first outing, despite taking an early lead through Emmanuel Dennis.

The Hornets made three changes to the team that last played 18 days ago, bringing Francisco Sierralta, Adam Masina and Ozan Tufan into their starting lineup, while West Ham coach David Moyes recalled Michail Antonio after his goal-scoring return from the bench on Christmas Day.

Claudio Ranieri had said in the run-up to the match that Watford could only train together once but the early indicators were that it would not affect his team – Dennis gave the Hornets clinical lead after just four minutes.

The Nigerian’s fantastic finish in the top corner, however, would be a rare bright moment in a half, and match, which West Ham would continue to dominate.

Benrahma rattled the crossbar with a sizzling effort five minutes after Dennis ‘goal, before Soucek rewarded the visitors’ continued attacking effort with an equalizer just before half an hour.

When the Czech ran on to Jarrod Bowen’s smart consistent ball, he shot home inside Daniel Bachmann’s nearest post to score his third Premier League goal of the season.

110 seconds later, Hammers arrived; Benrahma took advantage of a mistake on the home side’s right after 28 minutes which increased the away team’s lead to 0 – 1. It was 0 – 1 at the break.

Ranieri took in Joao Pedro at the break, but the speed continued to flow for the guests and they would have had a third through Bowen if Soucek had not fouled Dennis in the process of winning the ball back.

But a third came for West Ham, where VAR this time played its part in sentencing. Antonio chased a bit of a lost thing, hooked the ball into the area and Bowen was fouled by a clumsy challenge from Bachmann.

Skipper Noble, back on the side of the suspended Declan Rice, struck home the goal kick, which effectively put the game to bed with half an hour left to play. There was still time for substitute Vlasic to make a stoppage time as fourth, which rounded off a very good day for the Hammers.

This is how the players rated it.

Femenia dropped out for hosts / IAN KINGTON / GettyImages

Daniel Bachmann (GK) – 5/10 – Bowled down Bowen clumsily for the penalty, with his only other real contribution a good late stop from Antonio.

Kiko Femenia (RB) – 5/10 – Had a hard time dealing with the movement of Benrahma and Antonio, with the latter being able to get in behind for West Ham’s second after giving away the ball cheaply. Of injured before break.

Craig Cathcart (CB) – 4/10 – Allow a long ball over the top to slide over his head, in the belief that it would go out for a goal kick. It did not, Antonio picked it up and West Ham won a penalty seconds later.

Francisco Sierralta (CB) – 5/10 – Made his first start since October and marked it with a show of shit worthy of an Oscar nomination. Not many people dare to dance with Antonio but he did not hold back.

Adam Masina (LB) – 4/10 – Usually looting up and down the left but just was not at the competitions. Outclassed by Bowen time and time again.

Kucka tries a kick over the head / Marc Atkins / GettyImages

Moussa Sissoko (CM) – 6/10 – A typically energetic display in midfield, bursting from box to box. but lacked that bit of quality to really make a meaningful difference. Won a number of headers.

Juraj Kucka (CM) – 6/10 – Switched to right-back towards the end of the first half and was one of Watford’s better performers.

Ozan Tufan (CM) – 4/10 – Past in midfield and looked like a player who has not played a competitive match in a while.

Dennis gave Watford an early lead / Alex Pantling / GettyImages

Emmanuel Dennis (RW) – 7/10 – Continued its fine form with an elegant opening goal.

Josh King (ST) – 6/10 – A willing runner with the ball at his feet, but it was felt that the Norwegian’s only real support would come from Dennis and Joao Pedro – not enough to break down West Ham.

Cucho Hernandez (LW) – 5/10 – Did a couple of explosions on the counter but offered very little substance. No surprise to see him lift during the break.

We make our second change in the interval.

⏱ HT? 1-2 ⚒️ # WATWHU pic.twitter.com/714coY2phX

– Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) 28 December 2021

Imran Louza (40 ‘) – 5/10 – A couple of decent touches but spent most of their time trying to take back the holding.

Joao Pedro (46 ‘) – 6/10 – Has lots of talent, so much is clear, but could not show it given the lack of quality around him.

Ken Sema (61 ‘) – 5/10 – One of the quieter half-hour cameras you will see this season.

A good late save from Fabianski / IAN KINGTON / GettyImages

Lukasz Fabianski (GK) – 7/10 – Had no chance with Dennis’ opener but was very careful to keep Sissoko’s shots away from a windy counter in the second half. Made a wonderful late double stop as well.

Vladimir Coufal (RB) – 7/10 – Still not performing at the level he was before the injury – but you can never argue with Coufal’s energy and commitment to the cause.

Craig Dawson (CB) – 6/10 – Made it far too easy for Dennis to get his early shot on goal – so easy that it gets a signing in January to look like the club’s top priority.

Issa Diop (CB) – 6/10 – Did not do much wrong against a Watford team that did not offer a real threat – but must keep the ball better. Good in the air.

Ben Johnson (LB) – 7/10 – Another promising show from Johnson. Looks completely satisfied with both flanks now, which is hugely positive for Hammers. Ran off his socks and almost his legs.

What a man! ? #WATWHU pic.twitter.com/ucygwsGp1I

– West Ham United (@WestHam) December 28, 2021

Mark Noble (CM) – 7/10 – Covered the suspended Declan Rice in the engine room and did well. Scolded instructions, organized everything and sent his punishment home with aplomb.

Tomas Soucek (CM) – 8/10 – A freer 4-1-4-1 system gave Soucek the freedom to push forward, something he took full advantage of with a sharp low finish. Much better overall.

Manuel Lanzini (AM) – 7/10 – Dropped deeper to collect the ball at times, allowing Soucek to get into advanced areas. Solid enough.

Jarrod Bowen was brilliant once again / Alex Pantling / GettyImages

Jarrod Bowen (RW) – 8/10 – Quickly becomes West Ham’s most consistent player behind Rice. Perfectly weighted through ball to Soucek and involved in plenty, including the win of the decisive penalty and setting up Vlasic’s goal.

Michail Antonio (ST) – 7/10 – Drove the channels well and showed improvements of their end product. Surprisingly, he did not knock off the Sierralta block given the endless needles and pushers.

Said Benrahma (LW) – 7/10 – A really bright opening 45 minutes showed West Ham what they will miss when Benrahma goes to AFCON. Made one, hit the crossbar with another and was positive all the time on the ball.

Ben Johnson is replaced by Masuaku.

Well done, Ben? @Scope_Markets | #WATWHU 1-3 (81) pic.twitter.com/XesDScIbzV

– West Ham United (@WestHam) December 28, 2021

Arthur Masuaku (81 ‘) – 6/10 –

Nikola Vlasic (85 ‘) – 7/10 – Has looked much better in recent weeks and is finally away from the goal with his first Premier League goal for West Ham. A simple one too, placed on Bowen’s plate.

Alex Kral (90 ‘) – N / A

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