West Ham move further from EPL drop zone with Watford win

West Ham United's Marko Arnautovic, left, celebrates scoring the second goal of the game during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham United and Watford at the London Stadium, London, England. Saturday Feb. 10, 2018. (Steven Paston/PA via AP)

Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic were on target as West Ham secured a crucial 2-0 win over Watford on Saturday to ease the London club's relegation fears

LONDON — Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic were on target as West Ham secured a crucial 2-0 win over Watford on Saturday to ease the London club's relegation fears.

West Ham moved level with Watford five points clear of the English Premier League drop zone.

The victory, and performance, proved just how far West Ham has come under David Moyes, whose first game in charge was a dispiriting 2-0 defeat to Watford in November.

West Ham co-owner David Sullivan said before the game that he would be stepping away from transfers following the club's failure to strengthen in the January window.

But marquee summer signings Hernandez and Arnautovic are flourishing following the slow starts to the season which mirrored that of the team.

Watford actually carved open the first opportunities of an open game, Etienne Capoue with a shot deflected over and, from the corner, Adrian Mariappa's header forcing a smart save from Hammers goalkeeper Adrian.

But when Arnautovic, fit again after three games out injured, began to get on the ball West Ham looked a totally different team, especially to the one which surrendered so meekly at Brighton last weekend.

Arnautovic was presented with a glorious chance when James Collins headed the ball across goal, only to shoot too close to Karnezis.

But moments later West Ham's pressure finally told when, not for the first time, Michail Antonio tore past Daryl Janmaat and crossed for the unmarked Hernandez to nod in his third goal in five games.

Watford, having stunned Chelsea 4-1 on Monday, dominated after the break but without really testing Adrian, other than a Gerard Deulofeu free kick which the Spanish goalkeeper palmed away at his near post.

Hernandez looked odds on to double the lead with 20 minutes left when he sprung the offside trap and skipped past Mariappa and Sebastian Prodl, but he dawdled momentarily and allowed Karnezis to smother the ball.

But seven minutes later Arnautovic wrapped up the win with the goal his display deserved, a close-range finish after Watford failed to clear Aaron Cresswell's low cross.

___

AP Premier League coverage: www.apnews.com/tag/PremierLeague

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