How Watford FC can defeat West Ham United in a defining relegation game

Troy Deeney, Danny Welbeck

Watford FC is gearing up to face off against West ham United in a defining relegation game on Friday afternoon. Both sides are calling their way out of the relegation zone and a loss would be detrimental to their chances of remaining in the Premier League.

Let’s take a look at how Watford FC can overcome West Ham and inch closer to safety:

West Ham utilizes a 4-4-1-1 formation, dependent on striker Michail Antonio. Antonio scored four goals last week against Norwich City, who sits at the bottom of the table. His stellar performance gives him incredible momentum heading into the matchup against the Hornets.

However, Watford has their own savior gearing up for what he hopes to be another successful performance. Captain Troy Deeney, scored two goals from the penalty spot in the teams 2-1 victory over Newcastle last weekend.

Nigel Pearson currently leads the Watford team, who displays a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Deeney serving as the primary striker. Currently, they are utilizing Danny Welbeck and Ismaila Sarr as their left and right wings, with Abdoulaye Doucoure at center attacking midfielder.

Will Hughes and Etienne Capoue at center mid gives Watford a strong midfield, but their wing-backs have struggled in recent weeks. Adam Masina and Kiko Femenia have been inconsistent at times, which has given opposing teams a way into the 18-yard box. Christian Kabasele and Craig Dawson must remain strong and defend well again set pieces to overcome a surging West Ham attack.

The difference-maker

However, I believe the difference-maker in this game could be Roberto Pereyra, who has struggled this year but remains one of the more talented players on the team. His lack of care has been on display and undoubtedly affected his game in a down season. But with Watford looking to retain their Premier League status, his services are needed immediately. I believe a more aggressive formation would be beneficial in this game, as Watford’s defense is not strong enough to hold off West Ham for 90 minutes. A 4-4-2 formation could be a more suitable look.

Utilizing Deeney and Welbeck as their two strikers, Pearson could keep Capoue on the bench and swing Pereyra out to left-wing. This would make Doucoure and Hughes their center midfielders.

Putting a goal on the board early should be the priority here, and sitting back on defense in the second half to control the lead could help Watford secure their future.

Is it time for Watford FC to move on from Troy Deeney?

Watford FC, Troy Deeney

When Watford FC needs a helping hand, Troy Deeney always seems to answer the call. After a 2-1 victory over Newcastle on Saturday, the veteran striker believes Watford has “turned a corner.”

Sitting in fourth place at the bottom of the table, Watford has had a tumultuous 2019-20 campaign. Two second-half penalties secured the win and kept the Hornets alive and willing to fight another day. With teams like Norwich already sitting in the relegation zone permanently, Watford is struggling to maintain their Premier League status.

Their highly anticipated matchup against West Ham United on Friday could be the deciding factor regarding their retention. They are currently three points ahead of Bournemouth, who just thrashed Leicester 4-1 over the weekend.

The Hornets will face off against Manchester City and Arsenal to close the season after their matchup against West Ham. Even a draw would essentially guarantee their place in the Premier League, but with a -21 goal differential, Bournemouth is just three goals away from clawing their way back into the conversation.

Can Troy Deeney save the Hornets again from disappointment?

The 32-year-old skipper hasn’t posted double-digit goals since 2017 when he logged 10. With 24 appearances so far this year, he currently has eight goals and will be looking to add to his tally. His brace over the weekend gave him some essential momentum. But his clear lack of speed and agility have significantly hurt his production and effectiveness on the pitch.

Deeney told Watford’s official website:

“We can’t afford to be naive to the situation that we’re in.

“We’re in a relegation fight, we have been since the start of the season with the poor start that we had, but we’ve turned a corner and it’s in our own hands so we’re relishing that.

“We highlighted the last game (Norwich), this game (Newcastle) and the game on Friday as three must-wins and we’re two out of three so far.

“So we want to keep grinding away and getting better and hopefully that will lead into a better next season.

“I think you can see the change, I think you can see the desire, and that’s what everyone ultimately wants from their football team, and the performances will obviously get better.”

Deeney has one year left on his five year, $16.9 million pound deal. After his contract expires, I believe Watford should look elsewhere to supplement the position. He is simply not the striker he once was, and his elite status on the team has gradually decreased. While bringing him back as a reserve option on a cheaper contract might be beneficial, they cannot rely on him to be an everyday starter moving forward.