West Ham (1) v Astra Giurgiu (1) - Thursday 19:45
A late goal in Romania leaves this Europa League play-off in the balance going into the second leg at the London Stadium on Thursday evening. A Mark Noble penalty gave a much changed Hammers side the lead just before half-time but a late Denis Alibec strike levelled things up soon after Michail Antonio had squandered a golden chance to put The Irons firmly in the driving seat.
Boss Slaven Bilic has promised a stronger team this time round, however it is unlikely that there will be wholesale changes with many of his key players struggling with injuries. Andy Carroll will be out of action for at least six weeks while Dimitri Payet is also struggling and may be rested with Man City on the horizon. As such, there is a definite lack of cutting edge up top with Enner Valencia having not scored since January and new signing Calleri only just settling in.
In the nine league games that Payet missed last season, West Ham struggled offensively, scoring only six goals and failing to find the net three times. This is in stark contrast to the 29 times he started, where they only failed to score twice. This lack of creativity was evident on Sunday against Bournemouth where they only had two shots on target and it was only after a Harry Arter red card that they managed to break down The Cherries.
As a result, and while we expect them to win, we expect them to register a 1-0 or 2-0 scoreline against an Astra side that has only conceded more than twice in two of 12 European away games since 2013/14.