West Ham United travel to Watford this weekend looking for their first win of the 2019/20 campaign. The Hammers were thumped by Manchester City on the opening day before drawing with Brighton last weekend.
Boss Manuel Pellegrini has been boosted this week with the news that three influential players could be set to return. Mark Noble, Felipe Anderson and Sebastien Haller are all in contention to be involved (Evening Standard).
The return of the captain Noble would be a big positive for the Hammers, not least because it would allow Pellegrini the chance to get Jack Wilshere out of the firing line.
The £100,000-a-week (Spotrac) midfielder has struggled badly during the club’s first two games, despite a positive pre-season campaign.
With Noble back in contention, it would perhaps be wise for the manager to take Wilshere out of the firing line and offer him a few cameo appearances until he is up to full speed.
Declan Rice is arguably the first name on the team-sheet for the Hammers and in the first half against the Seagulls last weekend his job was thankless given Wilshere’s struggles.
The ex-Arsenal player made just 10 passes in the half he was on the pitch, with Rice making 50 in the same period.
Noble is a big presence in the Hammers team anyway, but his return for this weekend is even more timely given Wilshere’s continued battle for form.