AEK Larnaca Match Preview
Defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday afternoon wasn’t great preparation for the return of the UEFA Europa Conference League this evening.
However, West Ham United seem to have a better record travelling away in Europe than on the road domestically. They will hope that this continues when they face a trip to Cyprus to take on the challenge of AEK Larnaca in the first-leg of their Round of 16 tie.
The Hammers won Group B with a perfect record, as they beat teams from Romania, Denmark and Belgium to qualify for the knockout stage and they will want to do the same here in a bid to prolong another European run.
The visitors will hope that progression here will lead them to a home victory against Aston Villa in their next Premier League encounter to come in just three days time.
Alphonse Areola is in line for a third consecutive start in goal, while Emmerson Palmieri, Nayef Aguerd, Ben Johnson, Lucas Paquetá and Saïd Benrahma all look likely to retain their places from the defeat at The American Express Community Stadium. Aaron Cresswell is set to start, while Kurt Zouma, Gianluca Scamacca, Manuel Lanzini, Flynn Downes, Pablo Fornals and Tomáš Souček are also in contention. Michail Antonio will also look to be involved after missing the weekend’s game due to a hamstring injury.
Danny Ings could start his first game for the club in Europe. After playing the first-half of the Development Squad’s 5-1 home defeat to Manchester City just six days ago, David Moyes stated in his pre-match news conference on Wednesday that Maxwell Cornet will travel with the squad but still needs more recovery time following a calf injury he sustained back in October.
The Hammers’ boss also said that although he suffered a medial ligament injury towards the end of the game against the Seagulls, defender Angelo Ogbonna would be fit to play. Thilo Kehrer has recovered from illness and may feature, while the Scotsman could include a number of the club’s youngsters such as Divin Mubama.
Tonight’s match kicks off at 5:45pm with live coverage being screened by BT Sport from 5:15pm. The referee is Espen Eskås.