West Ham 1-0 Watford: Kurt Zouma named in starting line-up as Hammers reignite top-four push

1 year ago 33
Kurt Zouma, West Ham, WatfordKurt Zouma was controversially named in West Ham's starting line-up for Tuesday's victory at home to Watford

West Ham climbed back into the Premier League's top four with a narrow victory over Roy Hodgson's Watford, as Kurt Zouma controversially started for the home side.

The Hammers have "unreservedly condemned" the France defender after a video emerged of him kicking his pet cat across the floor and slapping it in the face.

Zouma has apologised and the club have said they will deal with the matter internally.

Chances were at a premium in a dour first half at London Stadium, with Said Benrahma striking the outside of the post in the best opportunity of the opening 45 minutes.

Jarrod Bowen eventually broke the deadlock in the second half with his sixth goal in as many games - a long-range strike which struck Samir on its way past Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster.

Bowen almost doubled his and West Ham's tally late on with a fierce left-footed strike, but Foster was able to divert the ball on to the post.

The result stretches the Hornets' winless league run to 10 matches and leaves them stranded in the bottom three.

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Hammers shrug off controversy to edge tense encounter

Asked by BT Sport before the game whether the social media video of Zouma influenced his decision to play the defender, Moyes described the Frenchman as one of the club's "better players" and confirmed the incident is being dealt with as "a separate matter" by the club.

The 27-year-old was booed by large sections of the London Stadium whenever he touched the ball and endured a busy opening as Watford - despite seeing little of the ball - created the better opportunities.

Juraj Kucka headed narrowly wide after fine play from Hassane Kamara, before Moussa Sissoko dragged a long-range shot past Lukasz Fabianski's left-hand post.

West Ham, who needed extra time to defeat non-league Kidderminster in the FA Cup on Saturday, were non-existent as an attacking threat until late in the first half, when Benrahma was denied first by Craig Cathcart's last-ditch challenge, then by the frame of the goal as he drilled the rebound against the outside of the post.

Things failed to improve as a spectacle after half-time as the Hammers struggled to penetrate Watford's organised defensive line, but the visitors began dropping deeper and deeper as the half went on and eventually paid the price as Bowen netted what proved to be the game's only goal.

Tom Cleverley had a curling, goal-bound effort brilliantly saved by Fabianski late on, but Hodgson's team rarely looked like salvaging anything from the game after falling behind and now find themselves three points off safety after Newcastle's victory over Everton.

The Hammers, meanwhile, leapfrog Manchester United into fourth after the Red Devils were held to a draw at Burnley.

Fans pay emotional tribute

Poignant scenes preceded the match at London Stadium as supporters took part in a minute's applause for West Ham fan Isla Caton, who passed away in January aged just seven following a brave five-year battle with a rare neuroblastoma.

A message from Isla's mother was played on the big screen before the game, thanking fans for the "amazing love and support" Isla received during her illness.

Both sets of fans took to their feet for another round of applause in the seventh minute.

Player of the match

BowenJarrod Bowen

with an average of 7.99

West Ham United

Squad number20Player nameBowen

Squad number41Player nameRice

Squad number10Player nameLanzini

Squad number3Player nameCresswell

Squad number8Player nameFornals

Squad number9Player nameAntonio

Squad number28Player nameSoucek

Squad number22Player nameBenrahma

Squad number5Player nameCoufal

Squad number1Player nameFabianski

Squad number15Player nameDawson

Squad number4Player nameZouma


Squad number1Player nameFoster

Squad number25Player nameDennis

Squad number7Player nameKing

Squad number19Player nameSissoko

Squad number14Player nameKamara

Squad number8Player nameCleverley

Squad number22Player nameSamir

Squad number15Player nameCathcart

Squad number33Player nameKucka

Squad number39Player nameKayembe

Squad number21Player nameKiko Femenía

Squad number10Player nameJoão Pedro

Squad number2Player nameNgakia

Squad number6Player nameLouza


West Ham

Formation 4-2-3-1

1Fabianski5CoufalBooked at 83mins15Dawson4Zouma3Cresswell28Soucek41Rice20Bowen8Fornals22BenrahmaSubstituted forLanziniat 60'minutes9Antonio




Formation 4-4-2

1Foster21FemeníaSubstituted forNgakiaat 78'minutes15Cathcart22Samir14Kamara33Kucka19Sissoko39KayembeSubstituted forLouzaat 77'minutes8CleverleySubstituted forJoão Pedroat 77'minutes7King25Dennis


2Ngakia6Louza10João Pedro11Masina12Sema26Bachmann27Kabasele28Kalu29Hernández

Live Text

Match ends, West Ham United 1, Watford 0.

Second Half ends, West Ham United 1, Watford 0.

Craig Dawson (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Joshua King (Watford).

Foul by Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United).

Craig Cathcart (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Emmanuel Dennis (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Moussa Sissoko.

Attempt saved. Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Tomas Soucek.

Vladimir Coufal (West Ham United) is shown the yellow card.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Vladimir Coufal.

Substitution, Watford. Jeremy Ngakia replaces Kiko Femenía.

Substitution, Watford. Imrân Louza replaces Edo Kayembe.

Substitution, Watford. João Pedro replaces Tom Cleverley.

Attempt saved. Tom Cleverley (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Moussa Sissoko.

Attempt missed. Tom Cleverley (Watford) left footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Joshua King following a fast break.

Corner, West Ham United. Conceded by Hassane Kamara.

Attempt blocked. Tomas Soucek (West Ham United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Aaron Cresswell.

Goal! West Ham United 1, Watford 0. Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United) left footed shot from outside the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Manuel Lanzini.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Tomas Soucek.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Vladimir Coufal.

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