West Ham United will take on NK Domzale on August 4th at the Olympic Stadium, now known as the London stadium. This will be the first competitive match at The Hammers new home and this is the second leg of their Europa League third qualifying round, West Ham lost the first leg 2-1 in Slovenia with Matic Crnic scoring either side of a Mark Noble penalty. Last week’s result has left plenty to do for the Hammers, who are looking to secure European qualification following a stellar Premier League campaign where they finished 7th.
West Ham were brilliant last season under Slaven Bilic, as the London team defeated one club after another. They showed everyone that they can mix with the big boys and even beat them. If Leicester hadn’t won the league, West Ham would have been the team everyone would be talking about. Payet became the signing of the season after a prolific first season in England and even players like Lanzini and Antonio contributed significantly when it mattered. Bilic will be expected to put a strong starting XI in the hope to overturn the deficit and qualify for the next round. Here is the predicted West Ham starting XI that Bilic can opt for.
Adrian was brilliant in the first leg, if it weren’t for him West Ham would have been staring at a higher mountain to climb. His double save at the end of the first leg could prove to be very crucial when this tie ends on Thursday. Although Randolph is the cup competition keeper, but one feels Adrian should start ahead of him, if the Hammers are going to have any chance in the tie.
Defenders: Lewis Page, Sam Byram, James Collins and Winston Reid
Bilic will have Collins and Angelo Ogbonna available for the match on Thursday, therefore he might want to tinker with the central defensive pairing and start with Collins and Reid. The New Zeland International looked out of sorts in the first leg, much like his fellow teammates, but deserves one more chance given the vast experience and quality he carries. With Cresswell out for four months, Bilic would be wise to give an opportunity to the 20-year-old Lewis Page, the only recognized left back in the squad. While Sam Byram should be restored to his natural position on the right, though he did well on the left in the last match.
Midfielders: Sofiane Feghouli, Kouyate, Mark Noble, Enner Valencia and Reece Oxford.
Kouyate was fairly disappointing in the first leg but still remains one of the most important players in the Hammers squad. He was excellent last season in central midfield and should keep his place in the starting XI alongside Reece Oxford. Feghouli made his first competitive start and was Probably West Ham’s best player on the night. He will continue on the right wing, with Valencia on the left. The Ecuador international was hugely disappointing in the first leg, therefore will need to work hard, if he wants to cement his place in the Bilic’s starting XI for next season. Goal scorer Noble will continue in the number 10 role.
Striker: Andy Carroll
West Ham are desperately searching for one or two quality strikers this summer but nothing concrete has come up till now. Carroll worked hard in the first leg, and even got in behind a couple of times but his finishing let him down on each occasion. He is still the number one attacking option at the club due to the absence of any quality cover and should start again on Thursday.