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Europa Conference League final: Fiorentina vs West Ham

Europa Conference League


Europa Conference League final: Fiorentina vs West Ham

Europa Conference League final: Fiorentina vs West Ham

West Ham’s European honours are limited to a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965, and the Intertoto Cup in 1999. Can the Irons add to that fairly modest haul with a triumph in the Europa Conference League on Wednesday night?

It would be a hell of a finish to a season in which supporters haven’t always been entirely enthused with West Ham’s progress.

Will West Ham hold their nerve?

An unspectacular Premier League campaign will immediately be forgiven if David Moyes can guide the side to European glory, of course. But can the East London club get the job done at Prague’s Eden Arena this week?

West Ham made it to the semi-finals of the Europa League last season, only to lose out to Eintracht Frankfurt; Moyes’ side lost both legs against the Bundesliga side.

Now West Ham have made it to a European final, will they hold their nerve? Their opponents have at least some pedigree; Fiorentina won the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1961.

And manager Vincenzo Italiano’s achievement in taking Fiorentina to the final has not gone unnoticed in his home nation; Italiano has been linked with a move to Inter Milan next season.

That’s for later; right now, if the 45-year-old can guide his side to victory, he’ll land the first trophy of his career as a coach.

Victory would offer a similarly significant moment for the West Ham boss, of course. Back in 2000, Moyes steered Preston North End to the Second Division championship, but meaningful trophies have eluded the Glaswegian since then.

The Italian side has scored 36 goals in 14 ECL games

Indeed, this appears to be an all-or-nothing moment for Moyes, as far as West Ham are concerned. There’s been talk this could be Moyes’ final game for the club; more specifically, that Dave might find himself dumped if he fails to win on Wednesday.

And the match is also likely to serve as a last hurrah for Declan Rice, expected to leave the club this summer.

But the opposition certainly seem capable of putting up a strong fight. The Italian side have scored 36 goals in their 14 ECL games this season, more than any other side; Arthur Cabral is the leading scorer with seven goals.

Cabral found the net in his last league game of the season on Friday too, as the team from Tuscany won 3-1 away to Sassuolo. Cabral is 23/4 to open the scoring in Prague.

Not that this will necessarily be the prettiest of finals. West Ham’s counter attacking style means the opposition tend to have more of the ball; meanwhile, the Fiorentina coach has apparently said the quiet bit out loud, suggesting his side would attempt to deal with West Ham’s counterattacks with “tactical fouls [and] preventative tackles”.

Fiorentina’s last two games have seen 17 cards

Of course, now that Italiano has revealed a potential tactic, referee Carlos del Cerro Grande will presumably be ready to crack down on it. Does that mean the Viola will have to abandon their approach, having already given everyone a heads-up on it?

Perhaps, but it might be easier said than done. Fiorentina’s last two league games have seen a total of 17 cards shown; backing over 5.5 cards in the Total Cards market at 5/4 is worth a look, then.

And results-wise? With both teams desperate to hoist a cup aloft after decades without doing so, the emphasis for both teams may be on making sure they don’t lose, rather than trying to force the win.

It wouldn’t be a shock if this one ends all square after 90 minutes. The draw is a 21/10 shot.

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