Mark Lawrenson has predicted that West Ham United will slump to defeat against Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side face their London rivals early in the Premier League season after finishing the previous campaign with a 4-1 victory over the Hornets.
West Ham didn’t complete the double over Watford though, who won the reverse fixture against the Hammers at the London Stadium back in December – and will look for their first victory of the season after only picking up a single point so far in the opening fortnight.
Despite their success in the last meeting, the Match of the Day pundit has predicted that Watford will get revenge with a 2-1 victory.
“These are two teams who have not won a game yet. I always think West Ham struggle on the road too,” Lawrenson said on the BBC Sport website.
“The Hammers will be fine but it will take some time. New signing Jack Wilshere has spent so long on the sidelines through injury and he doesn’t look up to it yet.”
“Watford haven’t made too many signings and you feel luck has been against them a little bit so far. They are not a soft team. They get stuck in and have some good players. I think they will sneak a win.”
Both clubs suffered humiliating defeats on the opening day of the Premier League and will be looking to rebuild their seasons after draws in their second games. Watford lost to Brighton convincingly at home, with the Hammers drawing against the Seagulls in the second week of the season – which makes Lawrenson’s prediction more surprising. With Sebastien Haller and Felipe Anderson set to return, and Watford confirming Troy Deeney is to miss the game, West Ham could be placed as favourites. Lawrenson picked out Wilshere as a player who isn’t up to it just yet – which seems an unfair valuation given the fact the 27-year-old has excelled with the ball at his feet, completing 88.2% of his passes according to WhoScored. West Ham will be looking to replicate their end-of-season victory at Vicarage Road, with Pellegrini surely set to call upon some of his returning marquee players to try and pick up their first three points of the season.