West Ham will host KAA Gent for the 2nd leg of the Europa Conference League Quarter Final on Thursday night in an 8pm BST kick-off from the London Stadium. The Hammers managed to get a draw in the first leg after going 1-0 up but in truth, they perhaps were lucky to get the draw. West Ham were pretty poor in most areas of the pitch and they will hope that the home comforts of the London Stadium provide the sparkle they need to reach the Semi-Finals. My preview of the match is below.
West Ham’s Form Slowly Improving
West Ham drew their last match to Arsenal by a 2-2 score. Arsenal were 2-0 up in that match and also had a penalty missed. Whilst that will also have an impact on Arsenal, who are under huge pressure to keep winning, to secure the Premier League title, it is also an improving factor for West Ham. West Ham have had poor form against Arsenal in the past and for them to come back from 2-0 down shows belief and heart.
I thought on the whole that the draw was a fair result in the first leg but if pushed then I would say that Gent deserved to win. West Ham will have to play well to win this one and if they don’t then they’ll be made to pay.
Higher Levels Needed for Gent
I spoke last week about how Gent had real solid home form. They got a 1-1 draw at the weekend against Mechelen, in their Belgium First Division A league match. They sit 4th in their league after that result. Prior to that match though, Gent won their previous 3 away matches 5-0, 4-1, and 6-2. The 4-1 match in the middle was a very impressive result against Turkish Super Lig club Istanbul Basaksehir that got them through to the Quarter-Finals after a 1-1 home result in the first leg of that tie.
You get the feeling that Gent will have to increase their quality levels up a gear or two, though. They had a lot of chances against West Ham and still weren’t really close to making them pay and you’d have to think that West Ham will give them more to think about in the reverse fixture.
Head-to-Head and Team News
These two met last week and played out a 1-1 draw. As I mentioned last week, there are some old head-to-head matches from the 1960s from which we can’t make any judgement. In terms of team news, West Ham can bring back Lucas Paqueta. A player that made a big difference to West Ham when he came on in the last 20mins or so of the first leg.
Angelo Ogbonna will be missing for this one and so Kurt Zouma will step in. Gent look to have no new injury problems.
West Ham vs KAA Gent Betting Tips
I think West Ham will have too much quality in this leg. I respect that Gent has come really far in this competition and they had a quality away performance after a 1-1 draw in the last round but I think West Ham will step it up here and have a bit of momentum after the West Ham point.
West Ham to beat KAA Gent @ 8/13 with Bet365
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.
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