West Ham vs Backa Topola predictions: Serbs may not roll over
West Ham earned their place in this season’s Europa League after their Europa Conference League final triumph over Fiorentina last term and David Moyes’s side will be confident they can get off to a winning start against Serbian outfit Backa Topola.
The Hammers’ only defeat this season came at the hands of Premier League champions Manchester City on Saturday, but they had led the Citizens at half-time and will be content with a tally of 10 points from their opening five games.
However, Backa Topola have made a strong start too and will be keen to make a big impression in their first appearance in the competition.
There looks a good chance that summer signing Mohammed Kudus will make his full West Ham debut while Danny Ings will also be looking to be included from the start up front.
Aaron Cresswell and Said Benrahma are others who will want to be in from the off and Moyes may well make a few changes with a tough Premier League visit to Liverpool on Sunday.
For the visitors, Milos Pantovic and Milos Vulic both came off the bench to score at the weekend, so they will feel they have done enough to come into consideration for a starting berth at the London Stadium.
West Ham failed to win just one of their 15 matches in the Europa Conference League last season.
The Hammers kept seven clean sheets in those 15 matches.
Both teams have scored in all five of West Ham’s games this season.
Backa Topola are top of the Serbian league with six wins and a draw from seven matches.
West Ham’s last four matches have all featured at least three goals.
West Ham fans had the time of their lives cheering their team to Europa Conference League glory last season and they will expect nothing more than a comprehensive victory in their opening Europa League group game.
However, it would be dangerous to underestimate their Serbian opponents, who should be keen to impress in their club’s first match in European competition.
Backa Topola lost just four of their 30 games in the league last season and although they finished second, 20 points behind Crvena Zvezda, they should not be easily dismissed, particularly as they have won their last four games.
The Hammers could be much changed and may initially lack cohesion, so there is a chance for the visitors to strike.
It would be a shock if West Ham suffered a defeat, but their clean sheet may not be maintained so take them to win with both teams scoring.
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