David Moyes looks set to make eight changes to his West Ham United side for the visit of Genk as fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur loom large on Sunday.
West Ham entertain Genk at the London Stadium in what – on paper at least – should be their easiest Group H test.
The Hammers, top of their Europa standings with six points from six thus far, then face Genk again in two weeks.
Moyes admits a lot of planning has gone into how best to manage his squad
Spurs meanwhile go to Vitesse in the Conference League.
Moyes will almost certainly have one eye on Sunday’s visit of Tottenham.
Sunday’s game is a huge one for both sides with Tottenham currently sitting two places and one point ahead of the Hammers in the Premier League table.
Moyes and his Tottenham counterpart Nuno will obviously be desperate for all three points.
No easy task predicting Moyes’s Europa League line-ups
So team selection, especially in light of the word coming out of the Tottenham camp about wholesale changes, will be a carefully thought-out process for West Ham.
Moyes has made sweeping changes to his side for the Europa League and cup games so far.
But he has done so in such a way that West Ham are not dramatically weakened.
While Nuno looks set to name a completely changed Tottenham starting XI, predicting Moyes’s selection is no easy task.
Kral out, Soucek and Antonio likely to be rested and host of other changes too
One player who definitely won’t be involved for West Ham against either Genk or Spurs is Alex Kral, after he tested positive for Covid.
Moyes dropped a rare team selection hint over Nikola Vlasic and Tomas Soucek suggesting the former will start while the latter will be rested.
Based on Moyes’s previous West Ham selections in the Europa League, Declan Rice will start while Michail Antonio will be rested.
On that basis we expect Moyes to name eight changes to the side which beat Everton last time out as Spurs loom large at the weekend.
Some changes hinge on availability of right-back duo
Alphonse Areola will come in for Lukasz Fabianski, Ryan Fredericks – if fit – will come in at right-back with Ben Johnson replacing Aaron Cresswell at left-back.
Should Fredericks or Vladimir Coufal not be risked then Johnson will continue at right-back with Cresswell starting – possibly with a view to bringing Arthur Masuaku on at some stage.
Angelo Ogbonna and Kurt Zouma will be replaced by Issa Diop and Craig Dawson. And the duo look set to have their hands full with giant Genk striker Paul Onuachu.
Predicted line-up: Moyes to make eight changes to West Ham side for visit of Genk as Spurs loom large
Rice will play alongside Mark Noble in midfield instead of Soucek with Manuel Lanzini coming in for Pablo Fornals ahead of them.
Vlasic will come in for Said Benrahma while Andriy Yarmolenko could replace Antonio with either him or Jarrod Bowen starting up front.
Predicted West Ham starting XI (if Fredericks is fit):
Areola, Fredericks, Dawson, Diop, Johnson, Rice, Noble, Lanzini, Vlasic, Yarmolenko, Bowen.
Predicted West Ham starting XI (with no Fredericks or Coufal):
Areola, Johnson, Dawson, Diop, Cresswell, Rice, Noble, Lanzini, Vlasic, Yarmolenko, Bowen.