Michail Antonio starts, Manuel Lanzini decision: Predicted West Ham XI vs Watford



David Moyes is set to welcome Michail Antonio back into the team following his international duty with Jamaica.

The striker was not available for the clash against Kidderminster Harriers in the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon, following his return to the UK on Friday afternoon. Having been handed the weekend off Antonio will come straight back into the team with Moyes likely to ring the changes to the side that struggled past the non-league outfit.

A number of players put in poor displays at Aggborough and as a result, will lose their spots with the manager predicted to return to his first-choice XI this evening.

Alphonse Areola failed to shine against Kidderminster and Lukasz Fabianksi is set for a return in goal with Moyes confirming: “Lukasz is still No.1.”

Ahead of the Pole, regular full-backs Vladimir Coufal and Aaron Cresswell will return to the starting line-up with Craig Dawson joining them after all three were named on the bench in the cup.

Kurt Zouma started against the National League North team but appeared to pick up a knee injury in extra-time. Moyes was positive over Zouma’s fitness in his pre-match press conference.

“He’s okay,” Moyes said on Zouma. “He twisted his knee a little bit, I think he stood on the ball and went over so we were a bit worried about him but he’s responded okay over the last few days and we expect him to be okay.

However, Zouma’s inclusion could be in doubt following a video released in The Sun late on Monday night, in which the Frenchman was filmed appearing to kick and slap his pet cat. The club are understood to be dealing with the matter internally but have yet to comment on what that means for Zouma’s chances of playing.

A Hammers statement said: “West Ham United unreservedly condemns the actions of our player, Kurt Zouma, in the video that has circulated. We have spoken to Kurt and will be dealing with the matter internally, but we would like to make it clear that we in no way condone cruelty towards animals.”

Alex Kral was hauled off at half-time on Saturday whilst Mark Noble only made it to the hour mark and both are set to be replaced by Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek in midfield tonight.

The attacking quartet is likely to see just Jarrod Bowen and potentially Said Benrahma retain their spots from the starting XI.

Bowen will move to his preferred right-sided position with Pablo Fornals as the No.10 if Manuel Lanzini is unable to recover from his achilles injury, if Lanzini misses out then Benrahma can expect to start from the left. This would see Nikola Vlasic and Andriy Yarmolenko drop to the bench with Antonio back to lead the line.

West Ham predicted XI:Fabianksi; Coufal, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek; Bowen, Fornals, Benrahma; Antonio





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