West Ham United take on KAA Gent this evening in a Europa Conference League quarter-final clash, in which a win could give David Moyes’ men a massive boost heading into the final stages of the season.
In what has been a troubled domestic season that sees the Hammers sit only three points outside the relegation zone, the Conference League has been a source of positivity in which Moyes’ side has triumphed in every outing, scoring 25 and only conceding on five occasions.
After the Irons’ hotly contested and ferociously fought victory over London rivals Fulham in their last league game, Moyes is expected to reshuffle the pack tonight ahead of title-chasing Arsenal’s visit to the London Stadium on Sunday.
Here’s the West Ham starting XI that could tackle Gent at the Ghelamco Arena tonight…
How could West Ham line up against Gent this evening?
Alphonse Areola is expected to replace first-choice keeper Lukasz Fabianski as the Frenchman has appeared in every Conference fixture this term and this shouldn’t change.
The back four is the same defence that kept a tremendous clean sheet against a tricky Fulham side. Angelo Obgonna was particularly impressive in this fixture as he registered a mammoth 12 clearances, three interceptions, and wasn’t dribbled past, as per Sofascore.
The ever-present Declan Rice will retain his spot – as club captain, he is an invaluable source of leadership as Moyes will look to take no prisoners at this latter stage of the competition by avoiding resting his star man.
However, a second change will see £53m signing Lucas Paqueta return alongside Rice.
In a similar role to what the former Lyon man excels in for Brazil alongside Casemiro, his creativity from deep could be a key factor to kill off this tie in the first leg. The 25-year-old has been earmarked as a supremely “talented” player, who should be given the chance to display his gift tonight.
Jarrod Bowen and Pablo Fornals will keep their starting positions, whilst the third and final alteration will see a change of shape which means Said Benrahma will replace Michail Antonio. The Jamaican international has only netted nine times in 36 appearances and has been a hindrance in attacking sequences of play due to his lack of innovation.
This means that Danny Ings will operate as a lone striker and will attempt to link up with three nimble attackers supporting him.
Predicted West Ham XI (4-2-3-1) Areola; Coufal, Ogbonna, Zouma, Cresswell; Rice, Paqueta; Bowen, Fornals, Benrahma; Ings