After its two-week hiatus due to the international break, West Ham United travel to take on Watford on Sunday afternoon in what is David Moyes’ first game in charge of the Irons.
The new Hammers boss will be well aware that, after all that has been said in the days since his appointment as Slaven Bilic’s successor, he must get his rein off to a positive start at Vicarage Road.
— NinetyMinutesOnline (@90MinsOnline) November 16, 2017
Currently embroiled in a relegation battle, West Ham find themselves one point off safety in 18th place but take on a Watford side that has made an impressive start to life under manager Marco Silva and are ninth in the league standings.
Moyes will be without summer signing and top scorer Javier Hernandez, after the 29-year-old picked up a hamstring injury whilst away on international duty with Mexico and is expected to miss his side’s next three fixtures.
Winston Reid, however, is likely to feature at the heart of the Hammers’ defence on Sunday despite suffering a knock whilst representing New Zealand in their World Cup play-offs with Peru, as is West Ham forward Diafra Sakho.
Veteran right-back Pablo Zabaleta returns from suspension and will once again be available for selection, having missed his side’s capitulation at home to Liverpool last time out.
Key man Michail Antonio is unlikely to feature for the Hammers as he steps up his recovery from a hamstring injury, with West Ham centre-back Jose Fonte is also a major doubt.
Speaking to the press ahead of Sunday’s clash, Moyes also confirmed that James Collins will not be included in the matchday squad, despite returning to first-team training after nearly two months out injured.
Despite the gap between the two sides in the league standings, the Hammers actually go into Sunday’s clash in better form than Watford, having picked up five points from their previous five fixtures, in comparison to the Hornets’ four.
West Ham have had an awful terrible away record of late, picking up just one win from their last 13 matches away from home, but Moyes will be well aware that, even at this early stage of his tenure, he cannot afford to walk away from Vicarage Road empty-handed.