On Thursday night, West Ham host AZ Alkmaar for the biggest match of their season so far as they face AZ Alkmaar in an 8pm BST kick-off from the London Stadium. The match is the first leg of two in the Europa Conference League Semi-Final. The other Semi-Final is Fiorentina versus FC Basel. Here are my Europa Conference League betting tips for this big game.
Irons Showing Home Improvements
West Ham have steadily improved in recent weeks. They’re as good as safe now in the Premier League after a really impressive win over Manchester United on Sunday. They were well worth that win and should have won it by 2 or 3 in the end. David Moyes’ men should have had a penalty that was turned down and then they had 2 disallowed goals. One of which, from Michail Antonio, looked completely fine. It would have been an injustice if they didn’t get the 3 points.
At home, they have had steady results recently and, more importantly, better performances. Wins over United and Southampton and solid draws against teams like Arsenal and Aston Villa.
West Ham have excelled in this tournament and won every single group match. Many thought that in the last round that the Hammers could perhaps find it difficult against Belgian First Division A side Gent. However, after an easy 6-0 aggregate win over Greek Super League club Larnaca, they then went and thrashed Gent 5-2 on aggregate. They have consistently played well at home in the Europa League Conference.
AZ Still Searching for Silverware
Whilst they have had some domestic success in the past, Dutch Eredivisie club AZ have still not tasted European success. They do have a few latter stage defeats though in Europe. They reached the final of the old UEFA Cup back in 1980-81 and, ironically, they lost it to English opponents as Ipswich beat them by a 5-4 score. Closer to date, they made the Semi-Finals of the Europa League in 2004-2005 and they’ve also had three Quarter-Final places in European competition. Of course, the Europa Conference League is a newer format but AZ will be searching for their second major European final. It would be their first since the 1980s.
AZ come into this match after edging out Belgian giants Anderlecht. It’s a match that many would have expected them to win a lot easier but they lost the first leg 2-0 away from home and after winning the return home leg 2-0 they had to get the job done on penalties. Head coach Pascal Jansen won’t care how his team did it and they’ll be relishing this tie as an opportunity to make history.
These two clubs have never met each other before and AZ has only ever faced Manchester United in terms of English opposition in recent years. They lost the away match 4-0 if that’s any help to anybody. Team news is interesting as West Ham look to have no new injuries whilst AZ could be without the influential Jens Odgaard. That would be a real blow for AZ and he has 13 goals this season as their 2nd top goalscorer.
West Ham vs AZ Alkmaar Betting Tips
I can’t see past West Ham winning this one. They have been solid at home in this Europa Conference League and are looking back to their best at home after a fantastic win over Manchester United. I’ll also go with West Ham to have a clean sheet.
West Ham to beat AZ Alkmaar 8/15 with Paddy Power
West Ham to beat AZ Alkmaar (to nil) 6/4 with Bet365
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.