West Ham United travel to face Anderlecht on Thursday night to extend their 100% run in the European Conference League this season to five games.
However, having gone through the qualifying rounds, the Belgian side have collected four points from their opening two games in Group B.
Preview Anderlecht vs West Ham
While many would argue that there are pros and cons to playing in the European Conference League, David Moyes needs this competition to find playing time for a West Ham squad that has profound strength.
It will also allow players to find some form when they need it most, Gianluca Scamacca scoring three goals in the competition before netting for the first time in the Premier League at the weekend.
West Ham were presented with what felt like a favorable group, but the East London side had to come from behind to beat FCSB and Silkeborg.
The Hammers have now scored three goals in each of their four games in the tournament this season, reinforcing the feeling that they are favorites to lift the trophy.
Nevertheless, with the Premier League still a priority as they seek to move away from the relegation zone, Moyes will want to secure qualification for the knockout stages as soon as possible as group winners.
Although West Ham could open up a five-point gap at the top of Group B with a win in Belgium, they will drop to second place if they lose to Anderlecht.
Felice Mazzu’s side have performed poorly domestically, collecting just 13 points from their 10 games, but there is ambition to go as far as possible in this competition.
Despite their struggles in their homeland, Anderlecht have collected four points from their opening two games, keeping a clean sheet in every match.
Although Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee Fabio Silva has contributed seven goals and two assists during an impressive start to his interim team, the Portugal Under-21 international has not contributed in his last four matches.
Anderlecht European Conference League Form:
Anderlecht form (all competitions):
West Ham United European Conference League Form:
West Ham United performance (all competitions):
Team News Anderlecht vs West Ham
Moyes will make some changes to his West Ham XI with goalkeeper Alphonse Areola recalled and Maxwel Cornet likely out through injury.
Michail Antonio should replace Scamacca in attack, while Vladimir Coufal, Emerson Palmieri, Pablo Fornals, Manuel Lanzini and Said Benrahma could all be given chances in the team.
Angelo Ogbonna could also return to central defence, allowing Moyes to give a break to Craig Dawson or Kurt Zouma.
Despite losing to Sporting Charleroi at the weekend, Mazzu is unlikely to make many changes to his Anderlecht starting lineup.
Inter Milan loanee Sebastiano Espositio could be given a chance alongside Silva, while former Roma man Amadou Diawara could return in midfield.
Anderlecht Prediction 1-3 West Ham United
While Anderlecht has a team full of players looking to impress on the big stage, we can’t ignore the league’s inconsistent form. With that in mind, expect West Ham’s greater quality to shine through, especially in the final third.
Forecast Anderlecht vs West Ham
Van Crombrugge; Debast, Vertonghen, Hoedt; Murillo, Diawara, Arnstad, Kana, Amuzu; Refaelov, Silva
West Ham United:
Areola; Coufal, Dawson, Zouma, Palmieri; Rice, Soucek; Benrahma, Fornals, Lanzini; Anthony