David Moyes’ West Ham United side head into Tuesday evening’s Premier League fixture against Watford on the back of a rather unconvincing 2-1 (AET) victory against Kidderminster Harriers last weekend.
As is to be expected against such a close-run encounter against a side who were 113 places below the Hammers in the English football pyramid, a number of the West Ham starting XI turned in extremely disappointing performances against their non-league opposition on Saturday.
A collectively huge improvement is now required if Moyes’ side are to have any hope of besting Roy Hodgson’s Watford outfit at the London Stadium tonight.
So, how many changes will the 58-year-old make to the side that started the win over Kidderminster last time out? Here’s how we think West Ham could line up against the Hornets, along with the latest team and injury news…
With Moyes recently stating that Lukasz Fabianski is set to return to the starting XI against Watford, as well as suggesting that both Manuel Lanzini and Michail Antonio could also start, we expect the West Ham boss to make ten changes to the team that lined up against Kidderminster last weekend.
There are wholesale changes in the Irons’ back five, with Alphonse Areola being replaced by the fit-again Fabianski between the West Ham sticks, while Ben Johnson, Kurt Zouma, Issa Diop and Ryan Fredericks all also make way.
The outgoing defensive quartet are replaced by Aaron Cresswell, 21-year-old Aji Alese – who podcaster Tom Edwards dubbed a “seriously good” talent – Craig Dawson and Vladimir Coufal.
In midfield, Mark Nobel and Alex Kral drop out of the XI for Moyes’ first-choice central midfield pairing of Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek, while Nikola Vlasic, Said Benrahma and the £100k-per-week Andriy Yarmolenko – whose display against Kidderminster was dubbed “embarrassing” by Dion Dublin – all have to make do with a spot on the bench.
In their place, Pablo Fornals and Lanzini line up on the left wing and in the number 10 role respectively, while Jarrod Bowen returns to his natural position on the right flank, with the returning Antonio leading the line for the Hammers.