Watford 1 West Ham 4: Noble at the double as Hammers secure top-10 finish

Mark Noble scored twice as West Ham secured a top-10 finish in the Premier League with a 4-1 triumph over 10-man Watford in an action-packed final-day contest.

Noble and Manuel Lanzini were on target for the Hammers in the first half at Vicarage Road, but Gerard Deulofeu hit back almost immediately after the restart.

Jose Holebas was then shown a straight red for bringing down Michail Antonio, ruling him out of next weekend's FA Cup final against Manchester City, and Marko Arnautovic's effort and Noble's penalty completed a scoreline that was somewhat harsh on Watford.

Defeat means Watford miss out on finishing in the top 10 in the top flight for the first time since 1986-87, with the Hammers leapfrogging their opponents at the last.

West Ham withstood an early Watford onslaught, which included Deulofeu seeing a goal rightly ruled out for offside after 17 seconds, to take the lead.

Noble played a give-and-go with Antonio, jinked past Christian Kabasele and coolly slotted past Ben Foster.

West Ham doubled their lead after 39 minutes. Antonio showed great tenacity before hitting a stinging 20-yard effort that was tipped onto the bar by Foster, only for Lanzini to nod home the rebound.

Lukasz Fabianski stopped Watford from pulling a goal back before the break with a point-blank save from Troy Deeney, but the lead was halved just 11 seconds into the second half.

Pablo Zabaleta's poor pass was pounced on by Deulofeu, who cleverly nicked the ball past Fabianski to finish into an open goal.

But the Hornets were stung by Holebas' red card, the full-back tripping Antonio and deemed to have denied a clear goalscoring opportunity.

There was no way back for Watford when Arnautovic had a simple tap in after Felipe Anderson's low strike rebounded off the post, with Noble emphatically rounding out the scoring from the spot after Kiko Femenia clumsily tripped Antonio.

 

What does it mean? Pre-Wembley wobble for Watford

The Hornets face a daunting task against City as they seek a maiden FA Cup title, but their form has dipped at just the wrong time. They finish their league season with three straight defeats ahead of the Wembley showpiece. 

Michail a menace

Antonio was a constant thorn in Watford's side with his power and pace. The forward was unfortunate not to finish with a goal, too.

Zab not so fab

Zabaleta came on as a first-half substitute for Ryan Fredericks and was at fault for Watford's goal. The veteran full-back endured a couple of other nervy moments in an uncharacteristically lacklustre showing.

What's next?

Watford go in search of silverware in the FA Cup final against Manchester City. West Ham, meanwhile, will look to add to their squad in the close-season in a bid to push towards Europe following Manuel Pellegrini's maiden campaign in charge.

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