West Ham get cracking in the Europa League group stages with a difficult looking trip to Dinamo Zagreb.
The Croatian champions are experienced campaigners in this competition, reaching the quarter-finals last year after overturning a 2-0 deficit to dispense of a Jose Mourinho-led Tottenham. They have, however, already lost unexpectedly in Europe this season, losing their Champions League qualification play-off against Sheriff Tiraspol.
David Moyes will undoubtedly rotate his West Ham side as he looks to juggle the added stresses and strains placed upon the club’s schedule, but he won’t make wholesale changes.
Here’s how the Hammers boss could set up his side, which should include full debuts for a number of summer signings..
Alphonse Areola (GK) – The Frenchman has been warming the bench since his arrival on a season-long loan, but that will change here – perhaps permanently.
Vladimir Coufal (RB) – Is too reliable to consider rotating, particularly in a game of this importance.
Kurt Zouma (CB) – Craig Dawson knows his time as a regular starter is drawing to a close; this should be phase one of the Zouma first team initiation.
Angelo Ogbonna (CB) – Experience is key to winning in Europe and Ogbonna has plenty of that. A big game player.
Aaron Cresswell (LB) – Will need to wary of Dinamo’s threat down the right, though Cresswell also poses a danger from set pieces.
Declan Rice (CM) – Will captain West Ham in Europe at the tender age of 22, fine reward for his continued brilliance in midfield.
Tomas Soucek (CM) – Hasn’t been at his brilliant best during West Ham’s opening four games, perhaps indicative of a busy summer with the Czech Republic. No time for rest here though.
Nikola Vlasic (AM) – Signed towards the end of the transfer window from CSKA Moscow, Vlasic is no stranger to Dinamo – having previously played for their big rivals Hadjuk Split.
Jarrod Bowen (RW) – Offers pace in behind on the counter attack, which is a weapon West Ham may look to utilise more and more as the game goes on.
Michail Antonio (CF) – A needless red card against Southampton at the weekend effectively rules Antonio in for a full 90 minutes here. Big chance to show what he can do and bully Dinamo’s defence.
Pablo Fornals (LW) – May operate on the left hand side to ensure West Ham are more compact defensively. Never stops running.