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    Watford 2-0 West Ham: Ighalo at the Double!

    By Alex Easley
    Odion Ighalo scored both Watford goals as his side beat West Ham 2-0.
    Striker Odion Ighalo scored either side of half-time to secure a 2-0 Watford victory over West Ham which saw the Hornets climb into the Premier League top 10.

    The home side were worthy winners and although Ighalo’s first goal owed a debt of gratitude to a critical touch from Aaron Cresswell, his second was an excellent strike that pretty much ended the game as a contest early in the second half.

    Hammers centre-back James Collins was sent off with five minutes remaining for a clumsy challenge on Ighalo to add to West Ham’s woes.

    Watford now lie in ninth in the Premier League table as a result, while the visitors have dropped to fifth thanks to Manchester United’s draw at Crystal Palace.

    Nigerian Ighalo will try and claim the opener, although his foot appeared to make a connection with the ball a fraction of a second before Cresswell’s did.

    The chance came about after a poor mistake by Andy Carroll, who failed to clear inside his own area and was dispossessed by Nathan Ake, whose pass across the face of goal arrived at the feet of Ighalo via a deflection off goalkeeper Adrian.
    Watford players celebrate after Ighalo's first goal to put them 1-0 ahead.
    Watford deserved to be in front, despite being lucky with the way they scored, having had most of all the attacking play in the game up to that point as West Ham played like a shadow of the side that won at both Arsenal and Manchester City earlier in the season.

    Troy Deeney saw a shot b locked close to the goalline by what looked suspiciously like Carroll’s hand on 10 minutes and the Hornets captain caused problems twice at corners.

    Ighalo forced Adrian into a fine save after the referee played a good advantage following a foul on Deeney and then produced some terrific skill down the left flank before crossing to Almen Abdi, who then scuffed his effort straight at Adrian.

    The goalkeeper did not get close to Watford and Ighalo’s second goal however, which was a fine left-footed strike after James Tomkins had failed to deal with Ikechi Anya’s low cross from the left.

    The two-goal lead and West Ham not performing like their usual selves meant Quique Sanchez Flores’ side were able to complete the match in a counter-attacking manner, allowing the visitors to have the ball for long spells as they waited for gaps to exploit.

    Subsitute Enner Valencia hit the left-hand post after seizing on Craig Cathcart’s poor back pass towards Gomes after an hour, but it was the closest West Ham came to a breakthrough.

    What was difficult enough as it was became a mountain climb five minutes from time when Collins was dismissed for a challenge on Ighalo, who was substituted off afterwards and given a very much deserved standing ovation from the Vicarage Road crowd.

    After the match, Watford head coach Quique Flores praised striker Odion Ighalo, saying: "Ighalo took a very important decision to stay at Watford. It was a brilliant idea.

    "He is a wonderful man who stayed here because his future here at Watford is really big. He is already an important player for us."


    Watford: Gomes, Nyom, Cathcart, Britos, Ake, Watson, Capoue, Anya, Deeney, Abdi, Ighalo

    Subs: Paredes Behrami, Guedioura

    West Ham: Adrian, Jenkinson, Tomkins, Collins, Cresswell, Kouyate, Noble, Lanzini, Payet, Moses, Carroll

    Subs: Zarate, Valencia, Jelavic

    MAN OF THE MATCH: Odion Ighalo
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    Item Reviewed: Watford 2-0 West Ham: Ighalo at the Double! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Alex Easley
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