West Ham United prepare for their first Europa League game of the campaign, where they will face Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday evening.
The club’s last bout in European competition was during the 2016-17 season, where the team crashed out of the Europa League qualifying rounds at the hands of Romanian side Astra Giurgiu.
David Moyes and the squad will look to right West Ham’s wrongs in European competition, and go into this game unbeaten so far this season.
Despite putting in a disappointing performance against Southampton on Saturday, where we drew 0-0, this fixture promises a better display on both ends of the pitch.
Dinamo Zagreb, the current Croatian league champions, will prove to be tough competitors and have lots of experience in these types of games.
Zagreb reached the Europa League quarter finals last year before losing to eventual winners Villarreal and currently sit at the top of their league table.
As number one seeds in this year’s competition, Zagreb should be a good test for the Hammers, as the team look to take the club to the next level on European soil.
West Ham Team News
West Ham go into this fixture with no new injuries and could also be boosted by the return of Arthur Masuaku, who returned to first team training last week.
Despite Hammers striker Michail Antonio getting shown a red card against Southampton at the weekend, he will still be able to play in this meeting because suspensions do not carry into European games.
This, along with a fresh and healthy squad, will be a big boost for West Ham against Zagreb.
Manager David Moyes may also hand first starts to new signings Kurt Zouma, Alphonse Areola and Nikola Vlasic on Thursday.
Dinamo Zagreb on the other hand, also have a fully fit squad to choose from for this fixture. With no injuries or suspensions, the Croatian champions are likely to field a strong team.
The likes of Mislav Orsic and Bruno Petkovic will certainly feature in their team’s starting XI, and will prove to be a strong and attacking threat to the Hammers.
Dinamo Zagreb 1 – 1 West Ham United
West Ham’s first Europa League group stage game is set to kick off with a bang. David Moyes and his squad will most definitely be up for taking three points in this one, but could meet a resilient Zagreb side.
A 1-1 draw for the first group match is a likely possibility, with Zagreb looking to ruin West Ham’s dream start to life in Europe.
If the team play like we have done so far this season, then there is no reason why Moyes should not go for victory in this fixture.
However, with more games comes more experience and we will likely see a more comfortable Hammers team in future group games.