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How might West Ham line up v FC Lusitans

Aricle by Tom Burford

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West Ham kick-off their Europa League journey tomorrow, in the first qualifying round, against FC Lusitans of Andorra.

They will be the first English club to play a competitive fixture in the Principality, and are fully expected to progress to the next round comfortably.

As long as West Ham use this fixture schedule as their pre-season, it shouldn’t affect them too much come the first league game of the season against Arsenal at The Emirates.

Be that as it may, the majority of the first team squad have only just joined up with the club’s training camp in Cork which started a couple of weeks ago, so it’s likely that the vast majority of the team’s stars will miss this one out. So who are we likely to see line up tomorrow?

I’ve put together what I think our starting XI will look like. It would be great to get your comments below.

GK – Darren Randolph

Adrian was one of the players that only joined the training camp on Tuesday so I fully expect the new ‘keeper to make his debut on Thursday. Being a number two can be frustrating at times, but I think Randolph will get his fair share of games in the fixture pile-up.

RB – Joey O’Brien

The Irishman saw little game time last term due to the form of Carl Jenkinson. The Arsenal right-back is yet to tie down a new loan deal though, so Joey is currently first choice in this position. He’ll be an experienced head in a side that’s likely to include a few ‘youthies’.

CB – Reece Burke

Got a bit of game time in the latter stages of last season and coped very well. He really did struggle up against Lukaku in the last home game of the season, however, and probably needs to bulk up a bit to make it a Premier League level. But this is miles away from that standard, so he’ll be absolutely fine.

CB – Doneil Henry

Yet to make his Hammers debut despite signing in January last year. He sustained and injury whilst on loan at Blackburn which ruled him out for the remainder of the season. He is back in full training though, and with James Tomkins on the comeback trail from his shoulder injury, I think it’ll be Henry or Reece Oxford that gets the nod.

LB – Stephen Maguire 

The highly rated 20 year old finally made the move from Hamilton Academical after signing a pre-contract agreement to join in January. Despite his tender age, he’s made over 100 appearances for Hamilton which included 2 seasons in the SPL. That’s a lot of games for a man of his age and he’ll be more than up to the task.

CDM – Diego Poyet

Didn’t perhaps make as many appearances as he would have liked under Big Sam last season (3), but he’s still only 20 and has only made 26 senior league appearances in total. Co-chariman David Gold was very clear to point out that every player will be getting a clean slate under new manager Slaven Bilic, this could be a real opportunity for Poyet to make a real push for a first team place.

RM – Morgan Amalfitano

He’s likely to form part of West Ham’s regular match day squad, but he’s been at the Cork training camp since the start, so there isn’t any reason he’d miss out on fitness issues. A lot of our creative play will come through Amalfitano if he does start the game. He could be in for a very enjoyable evening.

LM – Matt Jarvis

Similarly to Amalfitano, Jarvis has attending the Cork training camp since the start so his fitness shouldn’t be a problem. Many may have regarded him as one of the players that would have been sold this summer had West Ham not required a big squad for their punishing schedule. This fixture is way below his level so expect him to get a lot of the ball, attacking the full backs.

CAM – Mauro Zarate

Bust up's at both West Ham and QPR last season would have caused many supporters to consider whether we’d ever see Zarate in a Hammers shirt again. But he’s back in training and I for one am delighted to see him back. Let’s hope it was only a bust up with Sam that caused him to be sent out on loan. There were a couple of games he played in for us last year (mainly Crystal Palace away and Everton away) where he absolutely ran the show. He could score a hat full in this tie.

ST – Elliot Lee

If Diafra Sakho wasn’t on the comeback trail from his mystery foot injury, there would be a huge case for him to start the game. Elliot Lee is a player who many fans have been calling for to get his chance for a number of seasons now. He’s scored a lot of goals for the U-21’s and has performed well for the clubs he’s been loaned to. Hopefully the new manager will give these guys more of an opportunity, and not shove them all in one team in a cup game, lose 5-0 and then blame the fans for calling for the youngsters to get a game.

ST – Jordan Brown

I don’t know too much about young Jordan Brown. He was acquired from arsenal’s youth set-up and scored 6 goals in 19 games in West Ham’s U-21 league campaign last year. This is the stage for him to show what he can do.

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  1. Randolph wasn't registered as he isn't officially ours yet

    1. He couldn't be registered until today and I think were allowed to call up one additional player 24 hours before the game, which was him.


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