In the 27th round of matches of the 2017/2018 Premier League campaign, David Moyes’ West Ham United play host to Javier Gracia’s Watford in what is a pivotal match in the complexion of both team’s bid for survival in the Top-Flight.
The Hammers are fresh from a first defeat of 2018 in the league away to Brighton & Hove Albion, while the Hornets pulled off a shock to thrash defending champions Chelsea 4-1 on Monday Night Football making the visitors the slight favourites for this one.
The clash is scheduled to take place tomorrow afternoon (Saturday 10 February 2018), with a kick-off time of 3 PM and GMT and as is custom with Saturday afternoon ties, there will be no live Television coverage available for viewing in the United Kingdom.
However, you can listen to live Radio commentary of the match on BBC Radio London or TalkSport 2, alternatively, you can stay right here for a Live Blog of the London derby, featuring live and exclusive build-up, text commentary and reaction from the London Stadium Press Box.
The visit of Gracia’s Hornets will take place at the club’s London Stadium, with a capacity of 57,000 and the option to go high into the 70,000s it is one of the most spectacular arenas in English Football.
Originally opening in 2012 for the London Olympics, the Ground’s footballing existence has been somewhat marred by violence and crowd unrest, not to mention supporter’s attitudes towards it.
This was catalysed early in this season when the first-team stars, then under Slaven Bilic, were forced to play the first four games of the season away from home due to Stratford hosting the World Athletics Championships.
But, the Stadium is slowly starting to feel more like home for the Claret & Blue Army, and today will be only the second time that the team from Hertfordshire have visited Stratford, taking home all three points last time out courtesy of goals from Odion Ighalo, Troy Deeney, Etienne Capoue and Jose Holebas cancelled out a Michail Antonio double in a 2-4 victory.
Injuries have been cruel to Hammers boss Moyes over the last few months, though he is expected to be handed a boost in that department ahead of the fixture, though we will know more after his Pre-Watford Press Conference, which you can follow a Live Blog of right here this afternoon.
Deadline Day signing Jordan Hugill from Preston North End could make his home debut, so too free arrival and former Manchester United man Patrice Evra, pivotal winger Antonio is pushing to start for the first time in 2018.
Meanwhile, Hornets manager Gracia has a few injury concerns of his own ahead of the weekend, though key defender Craig Cathcart may well make his comeback from injury in East London, more will be revealed after his own Presser, however.
Youngsters Nathaniel Chalobah and Will Hughes remain side-lined though, along with Tommie Hoban, Miguel Angel Britos and Kiko Femenia, former Sunderland midfielder Didier Ndong will be back from his red card suspension.
The teams of West Ham United and Watford have met an impressive 74 times in Competition Football, a London rivalry that has been being played since all the way back in the year of 1898.
The East Londoners have the significant edge on the overall record as, out of that staggering number of fixtures, they have triumphed on 41 occasions, there have been 13 draws and the Hertfordshire outfit have reigned supreme a mere 20 times.
However, in more recent history, tomorrow’s visitors have ruled the roost in terms of this one, confining West Ham to only two wins in the last ten playing’s, winning five of those themselves and sharing the spoils twice.
The last time that these two faced off with each other came in November 2017, Moyes’ first match at the helm of the Hammers with strikes from starlets Richarlison and Hughes ensuring a first outing to forget for the Scotsman and the hosts the three points at Vicarage Road.
Watford Football Club was founded in 1881, a staggering 137 years ago as Watford Rovers and have since been nicknamed the Hornets, the Golden Boys, the Yellow Army and the ‘Orns in ode the male deer that appears on their club crest.
Since foundation, the club have had more than their fair share of ups and downs, enjoying their most successful period under famous manager Graham Taylor, who elevated the club from what is now League Two to what is now the Premier League between 1977 and 1972.
However, the Golden Boys have never lifted a major domestic Cup in England, finishing runners-up in the FA Cup in 1984 and never getting as far since, one of their claims to fame is being previously Chaired by world-famous singer and devoted supporter Elton John.
Nowadays, under Spaniard Gracia following the controversial sacking of Marco Silva last month, Watford currently occupy 11th position in the Division, a place and just three points ahead of the Hammers, a mere six points off the drop zone having been inside the top four during October.
Who Is Officiating?
Experienced Select Group Referee Graham Scott will be the man in the middle in the Capital tomorrow afternoon, assisting him will be the duo of Andy Garratt and Mark Scholes, fellow Referee Roger East is set to take up the role of Fourth Official.
So, now that the London Stadium scene has been well and truly set for an intriguing afternoon of derby action in the Top-Flight, can Moyes’ side pick up a much-needed three points to remain in the right end of the bottom half?
Or, will Gracia’s side be able to pull off an upset on the road to boost their own chances of remaining afloat in the Division and remain on top of the bottom-eight pack? Think you know? Be sure to head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter to cast your score predictions and join the pre-match discussion.