A new era beckons for West Ham who make their Olympic Stadium bow against NK Domzale on August 4th in the second leg of the third qualifying round of the Europa League. The optimism surrounding the Hammers’ first season at their new home could come to an abrupt end if they cannot overturn their first leg deficit against the minnows from Slovenia. West Ham, who came up with some big upsets last season, were upset by the Slovenian side last week in the first leg as Domzale holds a 2-1 advantage heading into the game.
Slaven Bilic will come up with everything in his locker to thrash Domzale in the second leg to announce their Olympic Stadium era in style. A bumper crowd cheering for the Hammers is expected and if West Ham performs up to their potential, a massive win should be a cakewalk for the East Londoners.
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 is likely to opt for.
Adrian is likely to feature under the bar ahead of Randolph. The Spaniard was brilliant in the first leg and proved to be decisive on multiple occasions. West Ham’s job would have been much trickier if not for the 29-year-old. Michail Antonio is likely to continue in the right-back position but he has to work on his defensive duties. Sam Byram will continue in the left-back position as Bilic’s search for a new left-back to cope up with the injury to Cresswell goes on. Both Ogbonna and Collins are available for selection and Bilic is likely to opt for Ogbonna for a start alongside Winston Reid.
With Ogbonna back into the side, Nordtveit is likely to start in a defensive midfield position. Skipper Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyate are definite starters as the two box to box midfielders pushing Pedro Obiang to the bench. Kouyate was quite wasteful in the first leg and will be keen to bounce back to his best while Noble will be looking inspire his boyhood club to a historic win.
Sofiane Feghouli, possibly the bargain of the season, will start on the right flank. The Algerian was brilliant for the Hammers in their pre-season and will be keen to impress the home fans in his first home game. Enner Valencia is likely to retain his place on the left flank while Andy Carroll will spearhead the attack.