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Preview: Watford vs. West Ham United

Sports Mole previews the Premier League match between Watford and West Ham United at Vicarage Road.

West Ham United will be hoping to continue their impressive start to the season when they host Watford in the Premier League this weekend.

The Hammers are just two points off the top of the table, but face a Watford side fresh from their first win in four outings in the top flight.


Troy Deeney of Watford celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Watford at Britannia Stadium on October 24, 2015© Getty Images

After a run of three matches without a win, Quique Flores saw his side secure a 2-0 win over Stoke City last weekend, lifting the Hornets up to 13th in the Premier League table ahead of this weekend's games.

The win at the Britannia, which was Watford's third victory of the season, also saw club captain Troy Deeney open his account for the season, having failed to find the back of the net in the opening nine games. The striker netted 21 goals in the team's promotion-winning 2014-15 campaign.

The manager has been heaping praise on Deeney in the build-up to this match, highlighting his leadership in the dressing room as well as his performances on the pitch.

Two of the club's three wins have come away from Vicarage Road, with the team securing just one victory from their five matches at home so far this season.

Despite sitting in the bottom half of the table, Watford have one of the strongest defences in the top flight so far this season, conceding just 10 goals while keeping four clean sheets. Only four sides have let in fewer, while the same number have more clean sheets.

It has been down the other end of the pitch that Watford have struggled though, scoring just eight goals in the league – the joint fewest in the top flight - five of which have been scored by Odion Ighalo.

Recent form: WWLDLW

West Ham United

Mauro Zarate (2nd L) of West Ham United celebrates scoring his team's first goal with his team mates during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Chelsea at Boleyn Ground on October 24, 2015© Getty Images

Slaven Bilic's side extended their unbeaten run in the Premier League to seven matches with a 2-1 win over Chelsea at Upton Park last weekend.

The Hammers have been aided by red cards for their opponents in their last three outings, but the run has left the team able to finish Saturday at the top of the table, depending on the results of the two sides above them.

The team remain unbeaten away from home so far this season, with wins in four of their five matches away from Upton Park. Leicester City and Southampton are the only other sides yet to lose in an away fixture.

Summer signing Dimitri Payet has been praised for his performances since moving to the Premier League from Marseille, scoring five goals and recording three assists in 10 league appearances for West Ham.

Despite his side's run in the first couple of months of the 2015-16 campaign, Bilic has insisted that the team still need to improve, particularly in front of goal.

Despite Bilic's concerns, West Ham have scored 22 goals in the Premier League this season – only league leaders Manchester City, who were beaten by the Hammers last month, have scored more. Defending has not been as strong, though, with the team keeping just three clean sheets while letting in 13 goals.

Recent form: WWDDWW
Recent form (all competitions): WLDDWW

Team News

Winston Reid of West Ham United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Leicester City at the Boleyn Ground on August 15, 2015 in London, United Kingdom.© Getty Images

Jose Manuel Jurado is still recovering from a hamstring injury for the home side, making him a doubt for this weekend's clash.

Watford have reported no fresh injury concerns coming into this match, although Joel Ekstrand is still sidelined with a knee problem.

For the visitors, Winston Reid is back in training, so could be in consideration for this match, but Alex Song is working with the development squad as he continues to strive for match fitness, although he is expected to link up with the first-team squad following this fixture.

Andy Carroll came off the bench to score the winner for West Ham last weekend. Although he has not started in the Premier League since returning from a lengthy absence with a knee injury, the striker may have forced himself into Bilic's thoughts as the manager prepares to select his starting lineup for this match.

Watford possible starting lineup:
Gomes, Nyom, Cathcart, Britos, Ake, Watson, Capoue, Anya, Deeney, Abdi, Ighalo

West Ham United possible starting lineup:
Adrian, Jenkinson, Tomkins, Collins, Cresswell, Noble, Kouyate, Zarate, Payet, Sakho, Carroll

Head To Head

This will be the first time that these two sides have met since they were both in the Championship in the 2011-12 campaign. On that occasion, West Ham secured a 4-0 win at Vicarage Road, before sharing a 1-1 draw at Upton Park later in the season.

Watford took four points from a possible six last time the two clubs were in the top flight at the same time, while twice eliminating the Hammers from cup competitions in recent years.

In 69 previous meetings between the two clubs, Watford have won 40 games, while losing just 17, and drawing 12.

Video Preview

Hit play below to see what the Sports Mole Sofa had to say about this encounter:

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We say: Watford 1-2 West Ham United

West Ham's best performances have come against the big clubs in the Premier League so far this season, while Watford have proved a tricky side to score against, so this could be a close fixture. The Hammers have been impressive away from home though, and they will be confident of extending their unbeaten away record.

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Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur scores his team's first goal from the penalty spot during the Barclays Premier League match between A.F.C. Bournemouth and Tottenham Hotspur at Vitality Stadium on October 25, 2015 in Bournemouth, England.
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