West Ham player ratings vs Watford: Jarrod Bowen an absolute menace as Tomas Soucek thrives in advanced role

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  • West Ham United
    West Ham United
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  • Jarrod Bowen
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  • Manuel Lanzini
    Manuel Lanzini
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  • Tomáš Souček
    Czech association football player
 (PA)
(PA)

West Ham moved to within four points of the top four after coming from behind to win at Watford and head into 2022 on a high.

Craig Dawson’s return to Watford got off to the worst possible start as the 31-year-old was beaten and sent tumbling by Emmanuel Dennis, who fired home past Lukasz Fabiasnski after just five minutes.

West Ham responded well, with Said Benrahma striking the bar from the edge of the box, and took control of proceedings. The Hammers were dominating possession but just waiting for it to click in the final third. When it did, the visitors turned the game on it’s head in a flash.

The first real spark came from Jarrod Bowen, who had the awareness to slip a quick through ball in behind for Tomas Soucek, who fired a smart low effort past Daniel Bachmann to level things up.

Two minutes later and West Ham were ahead, sharper than their hosts once more as Manuel Lanzini fed the ball down the left flank for Michail Antonio - making his first start after a positive Covid test - who cut in and fed the ball back for Benrahma, who had drifted off the Watford back four and fired a first time finish in for his second goal in as many games.

West Ham looked to have made a flying start to the second half when Bowen scored within five minutes of the restart, though referee Darren England was sent to the monitor and ruled the goal out for a soft foul by Soucek in the build-up.

VAR would work in West Ham’s favour minutes later, however, when Bowen got himself between the ball and Watford keeper Daniel Bachmann in the box. The Austrian went down with Bowen and, after a review, the penalty was awarded with Mark Noble scoring his first Premier League goal of the season.

As if things couldn’t get better for the visitors, Nikola Vlasic was sent on from the bench and scored his first goal in claret and blue after putting away Bowen’s cut back.

Here is how Jack Rosser rated the Hammers…

Lukasz Fabianski 7

Couldn’t be blamed for the Watford goal and made a smart save from Moussa Sissoko just after Bowen’s disallowed goal.

Vladimir Coufal 7

Solid at the back and a good threat going forward once again. Played in Bowen, who setup the opener.

Craig Dawson 6

Too easily passed by Dennis for the Watford goal and a couple of hairy moments but solid enough after that.

Issa Diop 6

Struggled early on but recovered well and helped fight off some late pressure from Watford.

Ben Johnson 7

West Ham were far more solid for his presence at left-back. Doesn’t offer much going forward from that side but a better option than Arthur Masuaku.

Mark Noble 8

Coming in for Declan Rice the captain kept control of midfield very well after West Ham’s early struggles and a very cool finish from the penalty spot.

 (PA)
(PA)

Tomas Soucek 8

Thrived in a more advanced role and took his goal superbly.

Jarrod Bowen 8

Didn’t get on the scoresheet after his goal was chalked off but an absolute menace for the Watford defenders all afternoon and a smart assist for Soucek.

Manuel Lanzini 6

Good ball down the left for Antonio in the build-up to Benrahma’s goal, could have done more to prevent Watford’s opener.

Said Benrahma 6

Two goals in two but again frustrating at times, drawing criticism from Moyes for wasting the ball.

Michail Antonio 7

Couldn’t get another goal after scoring on Boxing Day but looks much more like his old self. Troubling runs in behind and a good assist for Benrahma. Should have scored late on.

Substitutes

Nikola Vlasic 7

Finally a first goal at West Ham for the Croat. Found space well and couldn’t miss.

Arthur Masuaku n/a

Alex Kral n/a

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