The West Ham United starting lineup for the Europa Conference League clash with Gent is expected to see several changes, suggests the WHZ.
Despite securing a crucial 1-0 victory over Fulham, the Hammers face a tough match against league leaders Arsenal next Sunday, which could potentially put them back in danger of relegation. However, the club is still keen to continue their successful run in Europe, so manager David Moyes may opt to rotate his squad for this game.
Cup goalkeeper Alphonse Areola is anticipated to replace Lukasz Fabianski in the starting lineup, while changes are expected in defence as well. Although Moyes may prefer to keep the same back four that kept a clean sheet against Fulham, he may also choose to give playing time to Ben Johnson at right-back and Aaron Cresswell on the left for added experience.
It is expected that Kurt Zouma, who is currently the best central defender at the club, will be rested for the upcoming weekend match, with Nayef Aguerd and Angelo Ogbonna forming the partnership in the middle. Despite the struggles of Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek as a duo, they have continued to be paired in midfield, but both are likely to be rested, along with Lucas Paqueta who is carrying a knock. This will provide an opportunity for Flynn Downes to come into the side, and Pablo Fornals can drop into a deeper role due to his versatility, with Manuel Lanzini playing as a floating number ten, adding extra security.
In the attack, Moyes may not stick with two strikers for too long. Jarrod Bowen is expected to continue on the right wing, while Maxwel Cornet could get a rare start on the left. Cornet has come off the bench in the last two games, and a start in this competition could be a perfect next step for him ahead of a return to Premier League action, given that he hasn’t started a game since 1 October. Danny Ings, who has only scored twice since joining the club in January, may get a chance to start upfront to help him break his goal drought and boost his confidence.