West Ham shoot themselves in the foot against plucky Watford with schoolboy errors

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Good ol' West Ham. Just when you started to believe the hype, the under-performing Halloween ghosts of Hammers past materialised at Vicarage Lane to scare the likes of Andy Carroll and James Tomkins into playing as if possessed by the spirits of uncertainty and complacency.

Irons fans will be totally familiar with the inconsistency gene that has plagued the club since the halcyon days of Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters - a glorious win followed by a puzzling loss.

However, going into Saturday's match against the lively and so far impressive Hornets, confidence was high. After all, away scalps against Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool suggested victory at Watford was perfectly feasible. What could go wrong?


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Errors. Good old fashioned, human errors. Deficiencies in both decision making and technique by Carroll and the usually dependable Tomkins respectively gave Watford a very early Christmas present, gift wrapped and with a big gold bow on top.

It's times like this you feel for managers and coaching staff. Coaches from all levels teach their young, enthusiastic pupils not to dribble in dangerous areas - 'if in doubt, kick it out' the expression goes.

To attempt a drag back in your own box before cheaply losing possession ten yards from goal goes beyond the "schoolboy error" chapter of the coaching manual; it veers toward insanity at Premier League level, where even journeyman strikers will finish the job efficiently and without invitation.

Tomkins' failure to cut out a simple pass early in the second half meant goal number two for Odion Ighalo and game, set and match for Watford, as the lacklustre Hammers were outplayed on the day.

The old football saying 'do the simple things well' hadn't been heeded and the poor result was  deserved as the Hornets bossed the match statistics in every department.

It's a painful lesson that all teams learn to their cost. It takes one simple, unforced mistake to lose a game. West Ham made two and the three half-expected points were grabbed deservedly by the home side, who exploited Slaven Bilic's subdued and below-par side.

Ineffective performances from the erratic Mauro Zarate and unproven Enner Valencia didn't help the cause, before the wound-up Collins ploughed through the back of the Ighalo - the nearest he had been to the marksman all game - before taking the walk of shame for an early shower.

Up next are Everton on Saturday and West Ham, now in sixth, will need to show much more if their stay at the summit of English football is to be more than a brief look around. The Boleyn awaits.

West Ham United
Premier League

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