Team News: Noble hits 500 appearances, Johnson starts

Mark Noble will make his 500th appearance for West Ham United

Captain Mark Noble is set to make his 500th appearance for West Ham United as manager David Moyes makes one change to his side for the fixture against Watford on Friday evening.

Defender Ben Johnson, whose last first-team appearance was an impressive full debut at Manchester City last season, comes in for Ryan Fredericks in an otherwise unchanged starting eleven from the side which so clinically dispatched Norwich City at Carrow Road.

5,806 days to the day he emerged from the subtitutes' bench clad in Claret and Blue - his debut against Southend United – Noble will hope to celebrate another landmark in his distinguished career with a vital victory in the context of this season.

Already three points clear of their relegation-battling rivals, the Irons will look to put significant distance between themselves and the chasing pack at a sunny London Stadium.

Johnson, meanwhile, battled back from injury earlier this season to impress in the closing weeks of the Under-23s’ campaign, and will now look to further demonstrate his first-team credentials against the Hornets.

The team announcement means that Lukasz Fabianski starts in goal, behind an anticipated back four of Johnson, Issa Diop, Angelo Ogbonna and Aaron Cresswell.

Noble, who impressed so much in an advanced role against the Canaries, could well again play ahead of midfielders Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek on Friday evening.

That trio will anchor proceedings with the creative talents of Pablo Fornals, Jarrod Bowen and – fresh from becoming the first-ever West Ham player to score four times in a Premier League match – Michail Antonio offering goalscoring threat.

On the bench, Academy midfielder Conor Coventry – who spent the latter half of the season on loan at League One side Lincoln City – is eligible to be named, after three first-team departures at the beginning of this month freed up places in Moyes’ Premier League squad.

Also available amongst Moyes' substitutes is fit-again forward Felipe Anderson, who has been absent with injury since the recent 3-2 win over London rivals Chelsea.

The substitutes are completed by goalkeeper Darren Randolph; defenders Fabian Balbuena and Arthur Masuaku; midfielders Jack Wilshere and Manuel Lanzini; and forwards Andriy Yarmolenko and Sebastien Haller.

West Ham United: Fabianski; Johnson, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Soucek, Noble ©, Fornals, Bowen, Antonio
Subs: Randolph (GK), Balbuena, Masuaku, Coventry, Wilshere, Lanzini, Felipe Anderson, Yarmolenko, Haller

Watford: Foster; Femenia, Dawson, Kabasele, Masina, Hughes, Cleverley, Sarr, Doucoure, Welbeck, Deeney (c)
Subs: Gomes (GK), Mariappa, Cathcart, Chalobah, Pereyra, Quina, Pussetta, Joao Pedro, Gray

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