It is rare for West Ham United to pick up three points following an international break but having done so on Saturday afternoon, they will hope to carry that momentum into tonight’s UEFA Europa Conference match, as they head to Belgium to take on RSC Anderlecht at Lotto Park Stadium.
The Hammers beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 to earn their first home league win of the season and now, they will hope to stay at the top of Group B by earning another triumph here.
This could be a tough test for the East Londoners though, as the hosts are currently also unbeaten but, whatever happens this evening, the two teams will have the chance to right any potential wrongs, as they face back-to-back games against each other with the second encounter being staged in Stratford next week. The fact that the home side are yet to be beaten is not the only thing that the Irons will be wary of, they are also yet to concede a goal in their two previous group stage matches but David Moyes’ side have scored three in both of their encounters so far.
The advantage for the visitors though is that they currently have a 100% record so far in the competition and it is vital that they don’t relinquish that here. If they do, then the Belgian side will overtake them and move into top spot with seven points.
Vladimír Coufal, Pablo Fornals and Michail Antonio are all pushing to be involved from the start tonight after being dropped to the bench for the encounter at the weekend.
Alphonse Areola is to be given another chance in goal ahead of Łukasz Fabiański, while Manuel Lanzini, Flynn Downes and Ben Johnson could also make the starting line-up. Craig Dawson was given his first Premier League start of the campaign last time out and he will be hoping to retain his place, especially having started the game against Silkeborg IF and should Moyes select Angelo Ogbonna from kick-off, then he can renew his defensive partnership alongside the Italian.
Maxwel Cornet picked up a rinjury five days ago and will not feature, meaning Saïd Benrahma is an option to come into the team.
Jarrod Bowen and Gianluca Scamacca will be keen to keep their places after both were on the scoresheet against Bruno Lage’s side. Emmerson Palmieri will also hope to be involved.
Moyes hinted that a number of youngsters will be in the matchday squad for the game in Brussels.
The match is a 5:45pm kick-off with live coverage being screened by BT Sport from 5:15pm. The referee is Novak Simović.