European competition next season may be out of reach, but a top-ten finish for West Ham and Watford is a distinct possibility as we head towards the home stretch of the regular season. This week of Premier League action is kicked off with a London derby between West Ham and Fulham and Watford visiting Cardiff City.
West Ham v. Fulham — 2:45 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
One notable name that has been missing from West Ham’s lineup all season could finally be back in the gameday squad. Manager Manuel Pellegrini revealed that Argentine international Manuel Lanzini, along with Samir Nasri, could both feature in West Ham’s match against Fulham on Friday. The 26-year-old midfielder has been out ever since suffering a devastating ACL injury while in World Cup training camp with Argentina.
Whether he’s ready to go 90 minutes is unclear, but West Ham certainly needs him. The squad has lost five consecutive matches in all competitions, with just four goals scored. The strikers haven’t been able to finish very well recently, but the lack of a creative midfielder has really hurt the Irons in the most important sectors of the field.
Fulham meanwhile are in serious trouble with just 12 matches remaining. Fulham is eight points behind Cardiff City in the top spot outside of the relegation zone.
INJURIES: West Ham — OUT: Jack Wilshere (ankle); PROBABLE: Samir Nasri (calf) | Fulham — OUT: None; PROBABLE: None
Cardiff City v. Watford — 2:45 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
Watford enacted a little bit of revenge last week after defeating former manager Marco Silva and Everton. This week, it’s arguably a tougher task.
Cardiff City supporters have helped will their team to three-straight victories, after the tragic plane crash carrying footballer Emiliano Sala. Cardiff has poked its head out of the relegation zone, and will be desperate for another home victory. Watford, meanwhile, is looking to solidify a place in the Premier League’s top ten.
Interestingly, all ten of Watford’s wins this season have come with Abdoulaye Doucoure in the starting eleven.