Premier League

West Ham United-Watford Preview

Watford nearly finished in the top-half of the Premier League table last season. However, earning a victory in 2019-20 is the immediate priority for the Hornets.

They'll try a third time to claim their first victory of the term Saturday against visiting West Ham United, who are also without a win on the young campaign.

Watford (0-0-2) finished 11th in the Premier League table in 2018-19, two points back of 10th-place West Ham (0-1-1). However, both of these sides are winless over the first two weeks of this campaign.

More of the concern likely sits on Watford, who have been outscored 4-0 in losses to Brighton & Hove Albion and Everton. It's a far cry from last season, when the Hornets won their first four contests before coming back down to earth.

"Comparing with that beginning, it's difficult to do it again," manager Javi Gracia told Watford's official website. "But, I think we are calm. We know if we work like we are doing, we'll get better results in the next games. I think we have good options in the next games to get points. Playing this way, I'm sure we'll do it."

After this match, Watford visits winless Newcastle, so Gracia is right in believing his side can turn things around. That will need to begin with an improved offensive attack, though.

The Hornets scored just three goals while finishing 2018-19 on an 0-1-3 rut, and the offense has been even worse to open this season. They last went three league matches without a goal in April 2018.

It also does not help that captain Troy Deeney, who scored nine league goals last term, will be sidelined for "several weeks," according to the club, after undergoing knee surgery.

"We will miss Troy because he is a very important player for us," Gracia said. "I'm looking forward to seeing him back as soon as possible."

Watford split last season's two matches with West Ham, totaling three goals and conceding four.

The Hammers' season got off to a rough start with a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of reigning champions Manchester City. But, they were able to bounce to at least earn a point with last weekend's 1-1 draw at Brighton. Chicharito scored just after half-time to give the Hammers the lead, but Brighton was able to equalize in the 65th minute.

"I think that the Premier League will not teach you anything that you didn't know before," manager Manuel Pellegrini told West Ham's official website. "Every year in the Premier League, there are always tough games and difficult teams to beat. Every single team, all of them, have good players because they have money, so we know exactly what the Premier League is.

"We need to play every game as a final. After that, we'll see how many points we have at the end of the season."

Dating to last season, West Ham is undefeated in three consecutive road contests (2-1-0), which included a 4-1 victory at Watford on May 12.

Updated August 22, 2019