Jarrod Bowen scored for West Ham as they climbed into top 4. 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.
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. 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. 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.
Source – BBC News