West Ham Starting XI Prediction vs Rapid Wien (Europa League)

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West Ham has the opportunity to qualify for the knockout phase of the Europa League with one game in hand this week when they take on Austrian side Rapid Wien. The Hammers have skated through their Europa League group with relative ease and have yet to taste defeat on the continent this season.

David Moyes and his men will be hoping for more of the same here. The last time the Hammers strung together such an impressive streak on the continent was all the way back in 1965. That particular undefeated streak included the 1965 Cup Winners Cup trophy.

After crashing back to earth against Wolves in the last Premier League matchday. The Irons will be hoping to bounce straight back with a victory here. Early qualification here could pay dividends in the hectic festive schedule, with a dead rubber on matchday six meaning they can rest key players.

Rapid Wien vs West Ham FYIs:

Kick-off time: 6.45 PM Local Time, 25 November Thursday

West Ham Team News: go here

Form Guide (All Competitions): Rapid Wien (WWWLW) West Ham (WWDWL)

First, they have to win this one though, so bearing that in mind, let’s take a look into my crystal ball and see if I can predict West Hams starting XI for this huge match-up.

In goals, Alphonse Areola will deputize for the Lukasz Fabianski. He is a terrific ‘keeper and West Ham is spoilt for choice goals this season.

Having a player of his caliber as their cup goalkeeper is a luxury that not many clubs can afford.

There has been some speculation amongst fans and media that David Moyes might experiment with a back five for this clash to help cope with the loss of influential defender Angelo Ogbonna.

uefa europa league

I personally don’t think this will happen, so I won’t be selecting a back five here. I’ll stick with the back four.

The fullbacks will likely be Vladimir Coufal on the right with Aaron Cresswell on the left. Ben Johnson has been great on both sides, but I think that it is time to start easing Coufal back into the starting XI. The central defensive pairing I am going for is the pairing that has played most cup matches for the Hammers in Craig Dawson and Issa Diop.

This is a solid Europa League center half pairing and should have enough defensive nous about them to deal with whatever threat Rapid Wien has.

Mark Noble will give Declan Rice a much deserved (and needed) rest in this one and he will pair up with Thomas Soucek. I’m picking Pablo Fornals ahead of them. After playing less than an hour against Wolves I think he should be fine to backup for this one.

For the attacking wingers, I am picking Andriy Yarmolenko on the right with Manuel Lanzini starting on the left.

Despite his toothless display against Wolverhampton, I think Michail Antonio will start in the number 9 role. 

I have a hard time believing Rapid Wien has enough to defeat any side West Ham decides to field, and the Hammers should easily account for them with this side on the park.

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