West Ham Starting XI Prediction vs Dinamo Zagreb (Europa League)


West Ham United has had a sensational run in both the Europa League and the Premier League so far this season. The East Londoners see themselves sitting in fourth place in the Premiership and already qualified for the Europa League knockout phase with one game to spare.

Dinamo Zagreb will need to do something that no other previous Zagreb side has done in order to ensure safe passage to the next round: win in England. In nine previous attempts, the Croatian outfit has failed to win a single match. Their record in London is even worse, having lost all five of their trips to the capital.

West Ham vs Dinamo Zagreb FYIs:

Kick-off time: 8  PM GMT, 9th December 2021

West Ham Team News: go here

Form Guide (All Competitions): West Ham (LWLDW)  Dinamo Zagreb (DDWLL)

With the matches coming thick and fast, this will be a perfect opportunity to rest some first-team players. I expect David Moyes and his management team to do just that.

So bear with me as I gaze into my crystal ball to see who might just get a start for West Ham.

Frenchman Alphonse Areola is a lock to start here. Lukasz Fabianski has been great in the league, but Areola has been spectacular in the cup competition and I see no reason for him not to continue.

There have been rumors afoot that some under-23 players will get a start here. I think this is a great opportunity to blood some youngsters. With that in mind, I think 18-year-old Harrison Ashby will get his chance to shine at right-back.

The academy and under-23 coaching staff are very excited about Ashby’s prospects and I believe he will develop into a Premier League caliber player.

On the left-hand side, the hero of the victory against Chelsea, Arthur Matsuaku, will be rewarded with 90 minutes.

In the heart of the defense, another academy prospect, Jamal Baptiste, will line up alongside Issa Diop. This will be a perfect opportunity for fourth-choice center half Diop to show his stuff and develop his leadership abilities.

I think Alex Kral might get a start here alongside captain Mark Noble. This is the perfect opportunity to rest Declan Rice and Thomas Soucek. The pair have been nothing short of superb this season.

Just ahead of that pair we might see Nikola Vlasic. It’s fair to say that he hasn’t had the best of times since moving to the Hammers, but this is the perfect chance to give him some minutes.

On the wings, I think academy prospect Sonny Perkins might get a run on the left-hand side with Andriy Yarmolenko lining up on the right. Just because of lack of options, I am picking Michail Antonio to start centrally – but David Moyes might just surprise us all with who he goes for as the focal point up-front.

Given that Dinamo Zagreb has more to play for and David Moyes very likely to rest his stars, I am going with the upset here.

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