Watford’s flexibility could see West Ham leave frustrated


Watford have been one of the teams that have surprised – perhaps not Hornets fans – but many in the Premier League this season, after a steady start sees them in 13th position.

The Hertfordshire outfit were 8/11 for the drop before the campaign kicked off, but three wins and four draws in their opening 10 games, now means they are an 11/2 chance to return straight back to the Championship.

And goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes believes they can continue that run.

“I am very confident we will stay up. I believe we have a special thing at this club,” he told the Evening Standard.

That ‘special thing’ will be put to the test on Saturday when West Ham visit Vicarage Road.

Slaven Bilic’s men have won four of their five matches on the road this term, picking up victories against Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City along the way.

However, Gomes is sure that Quique Sanchez Flores is just the man to point them in the right direction no matter who they are playing or the form their opponents are in.

“We have a game plan for West Ham as we have for every game. It is specific. It’s not ‘oh they play long ball’. The week before we play a team, we train accordingly to how the opposition will play,” the former Tottenham stopper said.

That plan could be implemented against a Hammers side that have done much of their winning against teams that like to come at them, before hitting them on the break.

The pace and work-rate of the east Londoners has allowed the likes of Diafra Sakho, Victor Moses and Dimitri Payet cause havoc on the counter attack.

Against Watford though, things might be different.

The Hornets have only netted eight times in the Premier League this season, the lowest tally in the division.

Troy Deeney may have finally got off the mark against Stoke last time out, but creating a plethora of clear-cut opportunities to score has been hard work for Flores’ side.

In their 10 top-flight fixtures this term, Watford have averaged just 2.6 shots on target per game, perhaps going somewhere to explaining their low return.

Nevertheless, the patient approach could come in handy against an Irons side who would more than likely welcome the home team coming at them.

The game on Saturday could well see the hosts frustrate the high-flying Hammers long enough to take something from the game.

If previous meetings between the sides are anything to go by, don’t expect a classic.

Five of the last six meetings between the sides have seen no more than two goals scored, and with Gomes claiming they will be set up in a specific way to hurt their opponents, it could be a slow burner.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.