West Ham’s first ever adventure into the group stages of European competition takes them to Croatia and a date with champions Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday.
The Hammers secured a place in the Europa League after bagging a surprise top-six finish in the Premier League, but their start to the 2021/22 campaign suggests their progress under David Moyes is no flash in the pan.
Four games into the new season, West Ham remain unbeaten – but their toughest test comes here as they travel to Zagreb for their first Europa League outing.
Here’s 90min‘s preview of the game.
When is kick off? Thursday 16 September, 17:45 (BST)
Where is the match being played? Maksimir Stadium
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport (UK), CBS Sports (US), fuboTV(US), DAZN (Canada)
Referee? Ruddy Buquet
VAR? Benoit Millot
David Moyes is expected to make changes to his West Ham lineup, with alterations so far this season kept to a minimum.
The Hammers boss wants to go as deep in the competition as he can, but recognises that West Ham will need to manage the workload of some of their best players, as well as seizing the opportunity to integrate some of their summer signings.
Kurt Zouma and Nikola Vlasic could be handed full debuts as a result while there should also be a first start in goal for Alphonse Areola. Up front, Michail Antonio will lead the line, now that he’s ruled out of Sunday’s Premier League clash with Manchester United through suspension, and Alex Kral could be afforded minutes.
Lukasz Fabianski, Craig Dawson and Said Benrahma are the players who could drop out.
Dinamo Zagreb (3-5-2): Livakovic; Ristovski, Theophile-Catherine, Franjic; Moharrami, Ademi, Misic, Ivanusec, Orsic, Petkovic, Juric
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Areola; Coufal, Zouma, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek, Bowen, Vlasic, Fornals; Antonio
Dinamo Zagreb are certainly no pushovers and Thursday’s contest will really show us what this West Ham side are made of.
The Croatian champions lost out on a place in the Champions League after Sheriff Tiraspol got the better of them over two legs, but they are top of the table domestically after another strong start to the campaign.
West Ham will feel they can win, given the quality in their squad, and they do have a number of players who have experience of playing in Europe. It could be a nervy occasion but one that could bear fruit in the form of a vital away day point.
Prediction: Dinamo Zagreb 1-1 West Ham