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Declan Rice & Tomas Soucek will terrify every Europa League team

Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek were utterly dominant in the Europa League on Thursday night. The duo should have every team worrying about West Ham United.

David Moyes went with a fairly strong side as West Ham United kicked off their Europa League campaign away at Dinamo Zagreb. That paid dividends as the Hammers won 2-0.

But the result isn’t necessarily what will scare potential rivals. It’s Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek that should have the Europa League teams running scared.

Rice & Soucek in the Europa League

European football is different to Premier League football, even if it’s subtle. It’s far more important to eliminate silly results as one bad day can put you out.

With that in mind, resolute displays are exactly what you need to win these competitions. That’s what makes Rice and Soucek something to fear in the Europa League.

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That duo provides a phenomenal base for West Ham. They naturally shield the defence make them virtually impossible to counter-attack. When one pushes on, the other drops deep. The two of them are so physical, too, that you can’t go toe-to-toe with them.

Both are huge threats going forward on top of that, meaning teams can’t afford to attack them all-out. It’s perfect for European football. Moyes can surround them with tricker players to keep West Ham dangerous, safe in the knowledge that his midfield pairing can shut teams out and keep things solid.

Just look at these stats, for instance. Rice and Soucek misplaced just 12 passes all game – 11 of which were from the Czech.

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The pair won three tackles, three interceptions, and four clearances. They were only dispossessed once and, of course, Rice wrapped up the win with a magnificent goal.

A special mention to the aerial presence of Soucek, too – he won seven headers in this game, providing another area for West Ham to dominate.

The Hammers have something quite special here. Europa League teams will hate cagey games against Rice and Soucek as they try to knick a goal. So many teams fail in Europe because they lack that speciality.

West Ham, though, have a weapon that can see them go far.

All stats per Whoscored.

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