Dimitri Payet is expected to make his first start of the season against Watford on Saturday.
The France playmaker has missed the last two Premier League matches and only played 23 minutes of action so far because of injury, but he got 33 minutes under his belt for France against Belarus on Wednesday.
“I am expecting him to be fit and ready to start the game,” said Slaven Bilic this morning. “We have missed him. It is the same for every club. France missed him. When he came on he gave them something different with his quality and set-pieces. We needed this break to get back the injured players. Most of them will be back now. We also played five games in two weeks.”
The return of Payet creates a mouthwatering prospect of him going up against Roberto Pereyra in the battle of the midfield schemers. It is difficult to imagine Walter Mazzarri not starting the Argentine after his 45-minute cameo against Arsenal. Pereyra has already played at the London Stadium this season in a pre-season friendly for Juventus against West Ham.
“Watford are a good team,” said Bilic. “They did really well last year and were very active in the transfer market last year. They have been active again. If you look at their squad they have 18 players who are very familiar and have a good team. Like us they had a tough schedule playing Chelsea and Arsenal. We are expecting a tough game. They have pace and energy. I watched them even more during the break and saw their three games and one in the cup.”