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    West Ham v Watford: Match Preview

    By Alex Easley
    Victor Moses and Almen Abdi battle in the first fixture between Watford and West Ham. 
    West Ham’s Diafra Sakho could return for their midweek clash with Watford at Upton Park as they try to reignite their ambitions for a top four finish in the Premier League.

    Since their incredible comeback victory at Everton back at the beginning of March, Slaven Bilic’s side have drawn four successive games which has hindered the dream of Champions League football somewhat.

    Had they won at Leicester on Sunday, West Ham would have been on a high going into the Watford game, however a very controversial late penalty meant the points were shared.

    Former Croatia boss Bilic has said pre-match: "[Watford] will probably think a bit about the game at the weekend, and maybe they will rest some players.

    "But they brought a lot of players, experienced players, in the summer and in January. They have a big squad and a certain way of playing, and players who maybe start on Wednesday will have some fresh legs which is good for them.

    "No matter which team they put out we need a win. The gap (to fourth place) is big, but the gap can be reduced.

    "We have to win games. We are still in a big race for Europe and we are going to do everything we can."

    A Watford win would not only seemingly end the host’s season but would see the Hornets going into their FA Cup semi-final game with Crystal Palace full of confidence.

    The victory over West Brom at the Hawthorns on Saturday secured Premier League football for next season for Quique Sanchez Flores’ men and means they can go into tomorrow’s game with freedom.

    Flores was quoted as saying: "We will use a lot of new players (against West Ham). I am completely confident in the first XI I will pick; I am really curious how we can develop, and the characteristics of the players.

    "We respect West Ham, they are very good, they are one of the best in the Premier League but I trust a lot in my players and I think we can give a very good performance."
    Watford head coach Quique Sanchez Flores says he has confidence in the XI he will pick for the match.
    TEAM NEWS

    Quique Sanchez Flores is planning to make a number of changes to his side, as the Hornets boss wants to keep his players as fresh as possible ahead of their FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace on Sunday but intends to play the same shape as usual.

    Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes is the only player confirmed to be in the starting XI for the game but Flores has a full squad to choose from with no injuries.

    Sakho has recovered from the knee injury which forced him to miss Premier League draws with Arsenal and Leicester, as well as the midweek FA Cup defeat by Manchester United.

    Boss Bilic therefore has a full-strength squad and could hand recalls to Sam Byram, Manuel Lanzini and Andy Carroll, who climbed off the bench to score a penalty at Leicester on Sunday.
    West Ham's Diafra Sakho could return from injury on Wednesday.
    MATCH FACTS

    Head-to-head

    West Ham have won just one of their last seven matches against Watford in all competitions (W1, D2, L4).

    The Hammers have won 12 of the 16 league meetings at home (D2, L2).

    West Ham

    West Ham are unbeaten in eight league games (W3, D5) - but the last four have been draws.

    The Hammers could go nine top-flight matches without defeat for the first time since an 18-match run in 1985.

    They will set a top-flight club record of 15 unbeaten home matches in a row if they avoid defeat against Watford. Their last league defeat at Upton Park came on 22 August against Bournemouth.

    Andy Carroll has scored eight league goals this season, his best return since registering 13 in the 2010-11 season. Carroll has scored five goals in his last five matches in all competitions.

    Watford

    Watford earned their first league win in seven attempts at the expense of West Brom on Saturday.

    Only five teams have won more away league games than Watford's six this season.

    They have now won twice as many Premier League away games this season as they did in their previous two Premier League seasons combined.

    Ben Watson's winner on Saturday meant he became only the third player to score more than one league goal for Watford this season.

    K.O. 7:45PM – 20/04/2016
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    Item Reviewed: West Ham v Watford: Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Alex Easley
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