AZ Alkmaar Match Preview
Last season, West Ham United made it all the way to the UEFA Europa League semi-finals but were unfortunately knocked out by German outfit FFV Eintract Frankfurt. However, in the UEFA Europa Conference League this campaign, they have repeated the feat but, this time will hope to go one step further and book a place in the final of this competition when they face the first-leg in Stratford against Dutch side AZ Alkmaar tonight.
The Hammers were coincidently at home in the first-leg for their last appearance at this stage and the home fans all remember what happened on that occasion and will just be hoping for a different outcome this year.
The visitors progressed to this stage after coming from 2-0 in the first-leg against Belgian side RSC Anderlecht, only to level the tie on aggregate in the second-leg and then win 4-1 on penalties, meaning this could be the toughest test yet for the Irons in Europe this time around.
If David Moyes’ men do manage to notch up another two-legged victory however, then either Italian or Swiss opposition await in the shape of either ACF Fiorentina or FC Basel 1893 in the final which will take place in Prague on Wednesday 7 June.
West Ham go into this game off the back of a massive Premier League success, as they beat Manchester United 1-0 in East London just four days ago and they will want to build on that and gain further momentum ahead of a busy conclusion to their current fixture programme.
After this match, the East Londoners face another tough encounter on Sunday afternoon when they make a second trip of the season to The Gtech Community Stadium and take on the challenge of Brentford.
Jarrod Bowen, Angelo Ogbonna, Thilo Kehrer and Nayef Aguerd look set to retain their places after Sunday’s game, while Ben Johnson, Pablo Fornals, Flynn Downes and Emmerson Palmieri all made short cameos against the Red Devils at the weekend and all will be looking to be in contention here.
Maxwel Cornet and Manuel Lanzini will also be seeking rare starts, while Kurt Zouma has recovered from the ankle injury he sustained in the recent 4-3 defeat at Crystal Palace and will be assessed to see if he can be involved here.
There will likely be a change in goal with Alphonse Areola replacing Łukasz Fabiański, while the Scotsman could again include youngster Joseph Anang amongst the substitutes. After scoring his first ever European goal against Belgian side KAA Gent in the first leg of the quarter-final, Danny Ings could replace Michail Antonio upfront.
The match kicks off at 8pm and for the second time in just four days, live coverage will be screened by BT Sport with build-up beginning at 7:15pm. The referee is Halil Umut Meler.