West Ham United will play in front of the Club’s biggest home crowd in nearly 18 months when we return to London Stadium to host Atalanta in the Betway Cup on Saturday afternoon at 3pm.
With COVID restrictions lifted – but protocols and a Code of Conduct remain in place – the Hammers will welcome tens of thousands of supporters back this weekend, making for the largest home attendance since the Premier League win over Southampton on 29 February 2020.
With the game not being screened or streamed live in the UK due to broadcast restrictions, the only way for British-based fans to watch the action live is to secure a seat at London Stadium. Tickets are still on General Sale and can be bought now by clicking here.
It promises to be an exciting afternoon of top-level football, with West Ham seeking to build on a record-breaking 2020/21 Premier League campaign by completing an unbeaten pre-season, while Atalanta arrive fresh from a third straight third-place finish in Italy’s Serie A.
There is also the small matter of silverware to be won, with the Hammers seeking to secure the Betway Cup for the second time since the pre-season competition was introduced in 2015.
We will be covering the game live with a blog on whufc.com and our Official App and across our social media channels, with goals, highlights and exclusive reaction to follow after the final whistle.
Tickets are available on General Sale now by visiting eticketing.co.uk/whufc, calling 0333 030 1966 or visiting us at the London Stadium Ticket Office, with prices starting at just £15 for Adults and £5 for Juniors.
And you can watch the game in style too, with tickets in our Club London hospitality areas available from just £49 per person. Click here to buy now or call us on 020 8114 2442.
While we strongly encourage supporters to buy in advance, supporters will also be able to buy on the day – we recommend arriving early at the Stadium, as the Ticket Office is likely to be very busy. Lines are open until 5pm on Friday.
West Ham United's award-winning Official Programme returns for Saturday's Betway Cup visit of Atalanta.
The Hammers have produced a new-look 116-page issue crammed full of exclusive interviews and exciting content for fans of all ages.
Voted the 2020/21 Premier League's Programme of the Season by Premier Progs, the Irons' official matchday magazine is back for what promises to be an exciting season at home and abroad.
With tens of thousands of supporters set to return to London Stadium, you can mark the occasion with our Official Programme, which is available to order here for just £3.50, plus £1.49 postage and packaging*.
It will also be on sale in an around London Stadium on matchday from vendors and the Stadium Store.
West Ham United could hand a debut to goalkeeper Alphonse Areola after the France international completed a season-long loan from Paris Saint-Germain on Thursday.
Atalanta have signed Argentina goalkeeper Juan Musso from Udinese and centre-back Matteo Lovato from Hellas Verona on permanent deals, while full-back Giuseppe Pezzella has arrived on loan from Parma.
Going the other way, Brazilian defender Roger Ibañez has joined Roma, Gambian forward Musa Barrow has transferred to Bologna, Denmark striker Andreas Cornelius has gone to Parma and goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini has moved to Tottenham Hotspur on loan.
Saturday's match will see West Ham United take on Italian side Atalanta, with the winners being presented with the Betway Cup.
If the scores are level after 90 minutes, the winner will be decided on penalties. No extra-time will be played.
To minimise the disruptions and to ensure continuity of the football played, the number of occasions on which substitutions can be made during the second half will be restricted to three per team, although multiple substitutions can be made on each of these occasions.
Additional occasions for substitutions shall be permitted in the event of a serious injury to a player arising during the second half after all three permitted occasions for substitutions have been made.
The opposition – Atalanta
Italian football has shrugged off its long-held reputation for defensive football in recent years, with the average goals per Serie A game rising from 2.56 a decade ago to 3.06 last season.
Leading the charge for more open, attacking football has been Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio, the free-wheeling Lombards who have re-written the goalscoring record books in recent years.
Over the previous three seasons, Atalanta have netted no fewer than 265 Serie A goals at an average of 2.32 goals per game.
Under the leadership of owner Antonio Percassi, technical director Giovanni Sartori and head coach Gian Piero Gasperini – all three of them former players – Atalanta have scored more goals over the past three seasons than any team in Europe’s top five leagues bar Manchester City (280) and Paris Saint-Germain (267).
The big difference between Atalanta and both City and PSG is budget. While their English and French rivals have spent hundreds of millions in assembling their squads, Atalanta’s success has been based on a worldwide scouting network, shrewd recruitment and either developing youngsters or improving players who have not fulfilled their potential elsewhere.
A perfect example is the most-expensive signing in the club’s history, Colombian forward Luis Muriel, who arrived from Sevilla for £19m in June 2019.
Muriel had enjoyed moderate success with Sevilla and Italian clubs Udinese, Lecce, Sampdoria and Fiorentina during a somewhat nomadic career but, after joining Atalanta at the age of 28, he has found a totally different level.
Muriel has scored 40 Serie A goals in the previous two seasons, and grabbed 26 in all competitions last term, outshooting compatriot and strike partner Duván Zapata.
Zapata is another whose career has belatedly taken off in a Black and Blue shirt. The powerful 30-year-old scored a respectable 45 goals across five seasons with Napoli, Udinese and Sampdoria, but he has already bettered that haul by 21 in the space of three outstanding years in Bergamo.
The South Americans are just two of many success stories, though, with the likes of wing-backs Robin Gosens, Joakim Mæhle and Hans Hateboer, centre-back Cristian Romero, midfielders Ruslan Malinovskyi, Remo Freuler, Marten de Roon, and attacker Josip Iličić among the overseas-born players to find a home at the Gewiss Stadium.
Atalanta provided two members of Italy’s Euro 2020-winning squad too, in captain and defender Rafael Tolói and midfielder Matteo Pessina.
The avalanche of goals scored by the club from Italy’s Alpine region has led to three consecutive third-place finishes, two Italian Cup finals – both of which ended in defeat – and two trips to the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League.
However, the one thing missing for Percassi, Sartori, Gasperini and their multinational band of entertainers is a major trophy.
In fact, Atalanta have won just one in their history, an Italian Cup back in 1963, and the club’s relatively small but growing band of supporters would love nothing more to see their enterprising approach rewarded with a piece of silverware.
Saturday's game will be the first ever meeting between West Ham United and Atalanta.
The game will be refereed by Stuart Attwell, who began refereeing seriously following his graduation from Stafford University and worked his way up through the West Midlands League and National League before joining the Football League list of referees in 2007.
Attwell was fast-tracked, becoming the youngest-ever referee to control a Premier League fixture when he officiated Blackburn Rovers’ 1-1 draw with Hull City in August 2008, and being added to the FIFA List later the same year at the age of just 26.
He has since refereed matches in the UEFA Europa League, Premier League, EFL and UEFA age-group tournaments.
Overall, the 38-year-old has refereed West Ham United 14 times since April 2008, when he took charge of the 1-0 Premier League win at Wigan Athletic.
Attwell will be assisted by Harry Lennard and Derek Eaton, while Damith Bandara will be the fourth official.
VAR will not be used.
How can I follow the game?
A crowd in excess of 30,000 is expected, making for West Ham United's biggest crowd at London Stadium since February 2020.
The game is being broadcast outside the UK in selected territories, meaning the Club is unable to screen a live stream in the UK, Italy, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands and Korea. If you live outside these territories, you can tune in from 14:55 BST on our Facebook page.
.However, we will publish the goals, extended highlights and exclusive reaction across our channels afterwards.