David Moyes looks set to make five West Ham changes for the Europa League semi-final first leg against Frankfurt after a big defensive decision.

One of the biggest matches in the history of West Ham is now upon us.

The Hammers welcome German side Frankfurt to the London Stadium on Thursday night for the first leg of the huge Europa League last four clash.

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West Ham saw off Lyon in the quarter-finals while Frankfurt beat Barcelona to set up a repeat of the European Cup Winners Cup semi-final of 1976.

Frankfurt will be without star defender Evan Ndicka and key defensive midfielder Kristijan Jakić for the first leg against West Ham due to suspension.

And Frankfurt boss Oliver Glasner has also confirmed another of his players will miss the game through sickness.

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West Ham have their own issues in defence.

Speculation has been swirling that one of injured duo Kurt Zouma or Issa Diop could be in line for an early return to the West Ham side for the huge clash.

As the game draws ever closer that is appearing less likely given neither has been spotted training with the team in the build-up.

Based on that – and Moyes’s assertion pre-match that he will not risk players who have not trained prior to a game – we predict the Hammers boss will make five West Ham changes for Frankfurt after a big defensive decision.

West Ham United Training Session
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Predicted: David Moyes makes five West Ham changes for Frankfurt after big defensive decision

With the second legs of the European ties proving so crucial, Moyes may want to give Zouma and Diop another week in the hope one or both can be back for the game in Germany.

So we predict Moyes makes five changes from the side which narrowly lost 1-0 to Chelsea at the weekend after making his big defensive decision.

The first change will see Alphonse Areola come back into the side in place of Lukasz Fabianski.

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Moyes has played Areola in all but one of West Ham’s Europa League and cup matches this season.

And the Frenchman has made crucial saves at key times against Sevilla and Lyon to help the Hammers reach the semi-final stage.

We believe Moyes will not risk either Zouma or Diop and will therefore stick with a back five.

As a result the second change will see Pablo Fornals switch to left wingback – where he has played several times previously including against Sevilla – with Manuel Lanzini coming back into the side in place of Arthur Masuaku.

Chelsea v West Ham United - Premier League
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The third change will see Mark Noble make way for Declan Rice to resume his partnership with Tomas Soucek in central midfield.

Said Benrahma will make way for Michail Antonio in the fourth change while Jarrod Bowen replaces Andriy Yarmolenko in the fifth and final switch to the starting line-up from the Chelsea clash.

We of course hope that either Diop or Zouma will be a surprise inclusion. But we think Moyes may be mindful to hold them back for one more week.

Predicted West Ham starting XI to face Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League semi-final first leg:

Areola, Coufal, Johnson, Dawson, Cresswell, Fornals, Rice, Soucek, Lanzini, Bowen, Antonio.


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