West Ham United travel to relegation-threatened Cardiff City looking to close the gap on seventh place.

West Ham , Everton and Watford are the three teams battling Wolverhampton Wanderers for a potential place in Europe.

The Hammers have worked their way into ninth place in the Premier League with nine games to play.

Seventh spot, currently occupied by Nuno Espirito Santo’s newly promoted Wolves, will ultimately be the highest West Ham or indeed any club outside the top six can finish this season.

Seventh place is being dubbed the ‘best of the rest’ position.

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Plenty to play for in Wales

Should both Manchester sides progress to the FA Cup final West Ham and co will know whether seventh place is good enough for the Europa League by Sunday April 7.

Cardiff meanwhile have their own concerns. Sitting in 18th place the Bluebirds have done brilliantly to be in contention for survival against the backdrop of the tragic circumstances surrounding striker Emiliano Sala.

Neil Warnock’s side sit two points off safety with nine games to play and will be fighting for their lives.

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Pellegrini to make two changes, possibility of a third

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini has made a host of changes to his team of late.

 

Partly due to injuries and partly because of an intense period of fixtures.

The Chilean tactician has transformed West Ham this season.

And as he goes in search of seventh place Pellegrini is set to make two, possibly three changes to the side which started in the win over Newcastle last time out.

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Arthur Masuaku in for Aaron Cresswell

Cresswell has been getting back to something like his best. But he continues to be very injury prone in recent seasons. The left-back came off injured half an hour into the Newcastle game. He was replaced by Masuaku, who is not everyone’s cup of tea in East London. But the DR Congo international put in his best performance for some time leaving even his harshest critics impressed. He will come into the side from the start against Cardiff.

Michail Antonio in for Robert Snodgrass

Antonio was rested against Newcastle after popping a shoulder away at Manchester City. His pace and power will be vital on the counter attack in Wales, though, and Pellegrini will likely give Snodgrass a breather for this one.

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Possible: Samir Nasri in for Manuel Lanzini

Pellegrini, like everyone connected with West Ham, is delighted to have playmaker Manuel Lanzini back. The little Argentine looks like he has never been away since returning to the fold after eight months out with a serious knee injury.

He has been given a phased comeback and played the full 90 minutes against the Magpies last time out.

While he has had a week to rest, Pellegrini insisted last week Lanzini’s comeback must be managed carefully. So he will be rested with Nasri coming back into the side. Lanzini may then get half an hour depending on how the game pans out.

West Ham predicted line-up for Cardiff

Fabianski, Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku, Rice, Noble, Nasri, Antonio, Anderson, Hernandez.