Both Watford and West Ham United will be searching for their first win of the season when they lock horns at Vicarage Road this weekend.
The hosts are currently rooted to the foot of the Premier League table having thus far failed to pick up any points – or even score.
West Ham meanwhile were ruthlessly cast aside by reigning champions Manchester City on matchweek one, losing 5-0 to Pep Guardiola’s Sky Blue behemoth, before restoring some credibility with a 1-1 draw against Brighton.
Javi Gracia saw his side finish the previous campaign in poor form, and that appears to have spilled into the new season, but can the Spaniard rally his troops and bounce back with a win against the Hammers?
Read on for our predictions, key players, TV info and team news.
When is Watford v West Ham and where can I watch live?
Competition: Premier League
Venue: Vicarage Road
Date: Saturday 24 August
Kick-off: 3pm BST
TV coverage (UK): N/A
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Last five meetings: Watford v West Ham
12 May 2019: Watford 1-4 West Ham
22 Dec 2018: West Ham 0-2 Watford
10 Feb 2018: West Ham 2-0 Watford
19 Nov 2017: Watford 2-0 West Ham
25 Feb 2017: Watford 1-1 West Ham
Aggregate score: Watford (LWLWD) 6-7 West Ham (WLWLD)
Ones to watch
Watford: Roberto Pereyra
So often the fulcrum of the Hornets’ attacking fluidity, Watford fans will bemoan a lack of consistency in recent times, but there can be no denying that on his day, there are few who can hold a candle to the Argentine’s silky feet and rhythmic movement.
He started on the bench in the 3-0 drubbing to Brighton, but earned a recall to the first-team in their 1-0 loss to Everton on Saturday, failing to provide the goods and strut his stuff in either match. That said, he showed glimmers of his attacking prowess, and Gracia will now be relying on him to haul the Hornets out of the relegation mire they currently find themselves in.
West Ham: Manuel Lanzini
Very rarely do players return to their brilliant best following the career-threatening injury that is a ruptured ACL, but Lanzini is currently making prompt progress to rediscover his scintillating form prior to that trauma in May 2018.
He returned in February but looked naturally tentative as the season reached its concluding chapters, but appeared reinvented during pre-season and already looks like the player capable of catapulting West Ham up the Premier League ladder.
The Hammers are awash with attacking potential, but it’s their diminutive talisman who assisted Javier Hernandez for the club’s first – and only – goal of the season, while a recall to the Argentina national squad has materialised as a result of his recent upturn.
Watford have no major injury issues to contend with, but are likely to be without summer signing Ismaila Sarr, while Adalberto Penaranda remains sidelined. Danny Welbeck could make his first start for the club having come on in the second half against Everton over the weekend.
Predicted XI: Ben Foster; Kiko Femenia, Craig Dawson, Craig Cathcart, Jose Holebas; Abdoulaye Doucoure, Etienne Capoue, Gerard Deulofeu, Roberto Pereyra; Troy Deeney, Danny Welbeck
The Hammers were without record signing Sebastien Haller and Felipe Anderson over the weekend, but the duo trained this week and could feature at Vicarage Road, while Mark Noble remains a doubt for this fixture.
Predicted XI: Lukasz Fabianski; Ryan Fredericks, Issa Diop, Angelo Ogbonna, Arthur Masuaku; Jack Wilshere, Declan Rice; Robert Snodgrass, Pablo Fornals, Manuel Lanzini; Chicharito
Both sides are in dire need of three points to get their respective campaign up and running, which may mean neither Manuel Pellegrini nor Gracia will opt for a gung-ho approach. That said, both sides look extremely fragile at the back, while they both possess squads replete with attacking quality, so don’t expect any clean sheets in this bout.
Watford 2-2 West Ham