Europa Conference League final: Hammers out to end trophy drought
West Ham face Italian side Fiorentina in the final of the Europa Conference League, looking to end a trophy drought stretching back to 1980.
Here we look at the talking points and West Ham v Fiorentina betting odds ahead of the Hammers’ big night in Prague.
It is no secret that Declan Rice will leave West Ham this summer, but he is hell bent on signing off in style. The England midfielder is destined for bigger things with Arsenal, Manchester United and Bayern Munich the frontrunners for his signature.
But first, Rice is desperate to emulate Bobby Moore and Billy Bonds by becoming only the third West Ham captain to lift a trophy – and the first in 43 years – and in doing so write his name into Hammers folklore. West Ham are 17/20 to lift the trophy while Rice is 6/1 to mark the occasion with a goal.
Similarly to his captain, David Moyes could become only the third West Ham manager to guide them to silverware, following in the fabled footsteps of Ron Greenwood and John Lyall.
A massive moment ❤️
— West Ham United (@WestHam) June 4, 2023
There is a growing narrative that were he to achieve it the Scot, who turned 60 this year, could be forgiven for deciding to leave the club on a high, especially given their struggles in the Premier League this season which at times, he admitted, left him close to the sack.
Moyes is set to start with cup goalkeeper Alphonse Areola despite Lukasz Fabianski being the club’s number one. But if the match goes to penalties Moyes will have a big decision to make. Fabianski has an excellent spot-kick record – he has saved 11 in the Premier League alone. Areola, by contrast, dived the wrong way for eight consecutive penalties when West Ham lost an FA Cup shoot-out to Blackburn in November.
The final battle 🧤
— UEFA Europa Conference League (@europacnfleague) June 5, 2023
If the final goes the distance Fabianski could be summoned from the bench and have a big part to play in this competition after all. Looking at the West Ham v Fiorentina betting odds, the match is 21/10 to be drawn after 90 minutes while either team can be backed at 9/1 to win on penalties.
Full-back Vladimir Coufal and midfielder Tomas Soucek have had their sights set on reaching the final ever since the venue was confirmed; the Fortuna Arena is the home of their former club, Slavia Prague.
Coufal and Souček have a few phrases to keep you right in Prague 🇨🇿 pic.twitter.com/hoMLH54JSr
— West Ham United (@WestHam) June 5, 2023
Coufal has even promised to treat his team-mates to a famous Czech beer or two if they go on and lift the trophy.
West Ham were initially priced up as the favourites to win the tournament but there is nothing to choose between the two teams now following Fiorentina’s storming end to the domestic season. Vincenzo Italiano’s side have won eight, drawn four and lost just two matches since March, securing an eighth-placed finish in Serie A.
— UEFA Europa Conference League (@europacnfleague) June 4, 2023
Their attacking style should suit Moyes’ counter-attacking tactics, but while West Ham have enjoyed a very agreeable draw on their journey to Prague, this promises to be tough.
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All odds and markets correct as of date of publication