West Ham Looks To Carry On Strong Start Against Downtrodden Rapid Vienna
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After finishing last season in sixth place in the Premier League and qualifying for the Europa League, David Moyes' West Ham has yet to slow down. The East Londoners sit in seventh in the league and enter Thursday's matchup on the back of a 1-0 win over Manchester United in the League Cup and a league victory over Leeds.
Our European journey continues this Thursday...
— West Ham United (@WestHam) September 27, 2021
Moyes deserves massive credit for what he has accomplished at West Ham, after a summer that saw him lure two France internationals to the club in Alphonse Areola and Kurt Zouma with the promise of European competition. In addition to the pair, West Ham also secured attacking midfielder Nikola Vlasic after the Croatian enjoyed a productive spell with CSKA Moscow, scoring 33 goals and assisting 21 in 108 appearances.
Tomas Soucek, the 26-year-old central midfielder who arrived initially on loan from Slavia Prague in January 2020, has been a revelation in the West Ham midfield. He is a force to be reckoned with in the air and has formed a strong partnership with Declan Rice. He scored 10 goals in 2020-21, his first full season in London.
Michail Antonio has looked reinvigorated under Moyes since a full-time switch to center forward. He also provided 10 goals last season and already has six in 2021-22. Antonio has support in the form of Pablo Fornals, Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma and Vlasic.
The Hammers opened up their Europa League campaign with a 1-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb and will prove a stern test for struggling Rapid. Sitting in 11th place in a 12-team league, Rapid has taken just eight points from its opening nine league games this season and lost 1-0 to Genk on Match Day 1 in Group H.
Dietmar Kühbauer's side has lost four of its last five games ahead of the visit to the London Stadium. The capital side's attack is stuttering along so far this season, with just 10 goals in league play.
Moyes could have a tough decision to make if right back Vladimir Coufal does not prove fit in time, with Ryan Fredericks a definite absence through injury. Rapid will be without four players for the trip to the UK. The game is set for a 3 p.m. ET kick off on Paramount+.