West Ham began their impressive calendar year with a comeback, claiming their first win in four matches.
The Hammers dropped out of the top four during a disappointing December.
But he re-ignited his season by running back in command at Vicarage Road despite the blow of Emmanuel Dennis’ fourth-minute opener for Watford.
Thomas Sousek and Saeed Benrama scored two goals for East Londoners in under two minutes before half time.
And club captain Mark Noble – starting in place of suspended England midfielder Declan Rice – carried them in the 58th minute with a VAR-induced penalty.
Croatian substitute Nikola Vlasic wrapped it up with a fourth in extra time as he scored from 10 yards after an impressive Bowen cut from the left for his third assist.
It ensured a miserable return to action for Watford, who were in action for the first time in 18 days since the Covid-19 postponement – and suffered a fifth consecutive defeat.
It was a successful 2021 for Hammer with a sixth place finish last season and progress to the last 16 of the Europa League.
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But even after mid-winter, they still needed a lift at the end of it.
His form had slipped in the midst of a defensive injury crisis with just one win in the last seven league games.
Boss Claudio Ranieri was disappointed by the Hornets’ enforced break.
On the other hand, it also provided a back-handed type of relief as their final outing at Brentford on 10 December resulted in their fourth straight defeat.
Yet if Ranieri was concerned about being rusted, there seemed no need as his side was exposed after only four minutes.
Josh King slid a smart short ball down the middle, where it was collected by Dennis – who took some tricky skips along the 18-yard line before finishing a superbly arched finish just beyond Lukasz Fabianski.
It was the Nigerian striker’s eighth goal of the season – and his sixth in his eight most recent Premier League appearances.
Irons boss David Moyes would have been left out considering the fact that his men were playing for the second time in three days while Watford had almost three weeks off.
But West Ham threatened an immediate counterattack with Benrahma curling 20 yards against the bar in the 10th minute.
Jarrod Bowen and Michael Antonio then both blocked their efforts as the visitors began to scrutinize way more strongly.
And it paid off in the 27th minute when Bowen opened things up with a clever through ball and Sousek fired Leveller home with a precision-angled shot from 12 yards.
West Ham moved to the front two minutes later when Antonio fumbled to the left and crossed for Benrahma to score a goal in another 12-yard strike – aided by a deflection from home defender Adam Massina.
This confirmed that Watford’s fine start was deceptive and did not threaten again before half-time.
West Ham put the ball into the net within three minutes of the restart when Bowen slammed home from close.
But VAR ruled that Sousek fouled Watford’s Dennis in the build-up and the goal was cleared.
Then Watford came to life in the 51st minute when captain Moussa Sisico forced ‘keeper Fabianski to clear a diving punch with a 15-yard drive.
The tables turned when VAR awarded West Ham a third goal – referee Darren England fined Bowen after a video check after Watford’s keeper Daniel Bachmann’s huge foul.
Spot-kick specialist Noble sent Bachchan down the wrong track with his successful conversion in the 58th minute.
The home side offered little in the way of the north until Josh King came out clear and forced a full stretch save from Fabianski in the 72nd minute. And Vlasic’s late goal put the icing on the cake for West Ham just before the end
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