West Ham 3-1 Watford: Rice wonder goal as Hammers pull further away from trouble

Mark Noble celebrated his 500th appearance for West Ham as a blistering first-half performance against Watford was enough to secure a victory that virtually secures our top-flight status.

We scored twice in the opening 10 minutes through in-form Michail Antonio, who swept home and Tomas Soucek’s bullet header from Jarrod Bowen’s cross.

Declan Rice curled in an excellent third before half-time and, although Troy Deeney pulled a goal back at the start of the second half, Watford could not conjure a miraculous turnaround.

We moved six points clear of the relegation zone with two games remaining, and with a goal difference that is also significantly better than their rivals’, I feel like our place in the top flight seems assured.

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“It’s an amazing day for me, my family – this club deserves to be in the Premier League and tonight went a long way to achieving that. Seventeen or 18 years ago I was trying to sneak into Upton Park without a ticket. To play 500 games for the club you grew up supporting, grew up half a mile away from here, your family support – it’s what dreams are made of.”

Mark Noble

Prior to the match, Moyes had asked our players to “promise less and deliver more” and they did just that in a terrific first-half showing that eased any nerves.

Our goal difference currently stands at -13, considerably better than Bournemouth’s -25 and Aston Villa’s -27 so even if they are caught on points there will need to be a colossal goal swing for them to be dragged down into the Championship.

“We are in a good position. Teams still have that chance and we have to do that job. Even scoring the goals has helped – I wanted us to keep our goal difference as good as it could be. We have 37 points with a couple of games to go. If we get 40 points we’ll have done it off our own back.”

David Moyes
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On top of Rice’s stunning goal, he also made more passes (39) and more interceptions (4) and won the ball back more times (12) than any other West Ham player.

“It’s the best I’ve scored – it’s only my third goal! I scored two bangers in the warm-up, the lads are always on to me to shoot more, when I saw it hit the back of the net it was a great feeling – it wouldn’t have looked good to get a blank this season.”

Declan Rice on his spectacular goal

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