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Preview: West Ham vs. Watford - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's Premier League clash between West Ham United and Watford, including team news and predicted lineups.

Two teams battling to stay outside of the relegation zone in the Premier League will lock horns on Friday night as West Ham United welcome Watford to the London Stadium.

The Hammers are currently 16th in the table, level on points with 17th-placed Watford, with both sides sitting three points ahead of 18th-placed Bournemouth.


Match preview

West Ham United's Michail Antonio celebrates scoring against Norwich City in the Premier League on July 11, 2020© Reuters

Michail Antonio scored all four goals as West Ham recorded a 4-0 victory away to Norwich City on Saturday, with the result relegating the Canaries and helping David Moyes's side move up the table.

As it stands, the Hammers are 16th in the division, three points clear of 18th-placed Bournemouth, meaning that another positive result in this game would leave them in an excellent position when it comes to avoiding the drop.

There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a disappointing season for the club, but a record of two wins and one draw from their last four matches has given their survival hopes a huge boost.

Moyes's side face a trip to top-four chasing Manchester United in their next game on July 22, before finishing their Premier League campaign at home to fellow strugglers Aston Villa on July 26.

West Ham actually have the third-worst home record in the Premier League this season, but Watford have the third-worst record on their travels, which should make for a very interesting game in the capital.

Watford's Troy Deeney celebrates scoring against Newcastle United in the Premier League on July 11, 2020© Reuters

Like the Hammers, Watford have picked up some very important results in recent matches, winning their last two against Norwich and Newcastle United after three straight losses had left them in real trouble.

Nigel Pearson's side actually fell behind to Newcastle at the weekend, but Troy Deeney scored two penalties in the second half to help the Hornets pick up their eighth league win of the season.

As mentioned, Watford are currently 17th in the table, with a three-point cushion over Bournemouth, who have an incredibly difficult match away to Manchester City on Wednesday night.

There is no downplaying the importance of this game as a win for either would be huge, but Watford have actually lost their last two Premier League games with West Ham, conceding seven times in the process.

That said, the Hertfordshire outfit recorded a 2-0 victory when they last travelled to the London Stadium in December 2018, where Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu were on the scoresheet.

West Ham Premier League form: LLWDLW

Watford Premier League form: DLLLWW


Team News

Watford's Troy Deeney applauds fans as he celebrates at the end of the match on February 29, 2020© Reuters

Robert Snodgrass and Felipe Anderson will face late fitness tests for West Ham, but the London club are otherwise in good shape when it comes to injuries ahead of this match.

Having had almost a week to recover from the Norwich clash, it seems likely that Moyes will name an unchanged side for this game, meaning that Mark Noble could again be given an advanced midfield position.

Sebastien Haller and Andriy Yarmolenko are both pushing for spots in the side, although Antonio is currently in charge of the centre-forward position, having been in excellent form since the restart.

As for Watford, Deeney had to be replaced in the latter stages of their clash with Newcastle due to a knee problem, but the captain is expected to be available for this match.

Isaac Success, Gerard Deulofeu and Daryl Janmaat are still unavailable, though, meaning that the Hornets could also name an unchanged XI for Friday's contest.

Tom Cleverley and Roberto Pereyra are two players pushing for a spot in the XI, although Danny Welbeck appears to be in charge of the position on the left, having appeared to have fully overcome his injury problems.

West Ham possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice; Fornals, Noble, Bowen; Antonio

Watford possible starting lineup:
Foster; Kiko, Kabasele, Dawson, Masina; Capoue, Hughes; Sarr, Doukoure, Welbeck; Deeney


Sports Mole Logo

We say: West Ham 1-1 Watford

It is a massive game for both sides, but a draw would, arguably, not be the worst result in the world for either. Both teams are certainly capable of scoring goals, but we are struggling to separate them and are therefore tipping a low-scoring draw at the London Stadium.



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West Ham United's Michail Antonio celebrates scoring against Norwich City in the Premier League on July 11, 2020
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Thursday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

MARATHON SWIMMING
· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

BOXING
· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

DIVING
· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

HOCKEY
· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

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