West Ham “deserve to be in the Premier League” says captain Mark Noble, after his side’s blistering first-half performance ensured a victory that virtually secures their top-flight status but leaves Watford in major trouble.
David Moyes’ men picked up a crucial win to move six points clear of the relegation zone with two games remaining and, with a goal difference that is also significantly better than their rivals’, the Hammers’ place in the top flight seems assured.
Noble, who came through the club’s academy and made his 500th appearance in the match, said: “It’s an amazing day for me, my family – this club deserves to be in the Premier League and tonight went a long way to achieving that.
“Seventeen or 18 years ago I was trying to sneak into Upton Park without a ticket. To play 500 games for the club you grew up supporting, grew up half a mile away from here, your family support – it’s what dreams are made of.”
The picture looks much bleaker for Nigel Pearson’s men, who lie just three points outside the relegation zone and face Manchester City and Arsenal in their remaining games.
The hosts scored twice in the opening 10 minutes through the in-form Michail Antonio, who swept home and Tomas Soucek’s bullet from Jarrod Bowen’s cross.
Declan Rice curled in a sublime third before half-time and, although Troy Deeney pulled a goal back at the start of the second half, Watford could not conjure a miraculous turnaround.