West Ham United v AZ Alkmaar
Despite a lacklustre domestic campaign, David Moyes’ West Ham find themselves in yet another European semi-final. AZ of the Netherlands lie in their wait, in what could be a game that may bring some confidence from the West Ham board to further support Moyes heading into next season. The former Manchester United manager has found himself under serious pressure this season, but this is a chance to leave a lasting legacy in east London, should they go all the way and lift European silverware since winning the Cup Winner’ Cup back in 1965.
Below, we have compiled our best bet builder tips for West Ham United v AZ Alkmaar for this European semi-final. If you’ve not yet signed up to Paddy Power then you can do so now. If you do, you can claim the offer below and get your stake on a West Ham United v AZ Alkmaar bet builder refunded in cash if your first bet doesn’t land:
Moyes’ Boys Living Their European Dream
David Moyes was one of the favourites to get the sack in January, however, an excellent run of form through March and April has left them comfortably away from the drop and able to put all their efforts into this European fixture. West Ham were on a run of just 1 loss in 10 before 3 consecutive defeats in tough matches against Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Manchester City. It looked like they might come into this game on a run of 4 consecutive losses considering their previous match was against Manchester United, but a fantastic 1-0 home win gives them a huge boost of confidence coming into this match.
West Ham have been superb at home in the Conference League this season, they have won all 6 of their home matches in the competition by a combined score of 20-1. West Ham fans will provide a sensational atmosphere, without winning this competition they may not experience European football again for quite a while. With their fantastic home performances in the Conference League so far this season, lots of West Ham bet builders will be backing them to go and get an important win here.
West Ham Team News
West Ham are missing 3 important players for this match, Gianluca Scamacca has been out for a while so his absence may not be too much for West Ham here, however injuries to Zouma and Coufal may cause them more issues. Coufal is more than just a solid full-back, he is assured on that side of the pitch and keeps West Ham defensively sound against any left-wingers. That said, Coufal missed the match against United and Kehrer did well in his position on the way to a West Ham clean sheet. While West Ham would rather have Coufal, Zouma and Scamacca available, they now have the squad depth to deal with these injuries.
Cheeseheads Could Crumble Against Physical Hammers
AZ have built a young side and are having a very strong season in the Eredivisie. They sit 4th currently, just 2 points behind Ajax and have effectively secured Conference League football again for next season already. AZ have a number of top young players to look out for and their striker Vangelis Pavlidis is their main dangerman. In just 22 league games this season, he has scored 12 and assisted 4, the 5th best record in the Eredivisie.
He is their top scorer in the Europa Conference League with 5 goals so far including both goals in their second-leg comeback at home to Anderlecht in the quarter-finals. One name familiar to Premier League fans will be Matt Ryan in goal, the ex-Brighton goalkeeper delivers important experience to a young backline that has gone 5 and a half matches without conceding. Just like most Dutch teams, AZ will try to play good football and are a technical side, the only concern for them may be how they cope with West Ham from set pieces.
AZ Alkmaar Team News
One massive absentee for AZ will be 19-year-old left-back Milos Kerkez. Only 3 players have played more minutes for AZ this season than Kerkez and the young Hungarian’s suspension means that Mees de Wit may start at left-back. Jens Odgaard is also a doubt after he came off in AZ’s game against Ajax at the weekend, Dani de Wit who would usually come in to replace him is also a doubt here. Odgaard and Kerkez are usually two of the first names on the team sheet for AZ and we can expect their absences to make life a lot harder for AZ.
West Ham United v AZ Alkmaar Cheat Sheet
As mentioned previously, there could be some value in a Mees de Wit foul should the inexperienced defender be thrust into the starting XI. AZ’s normal left-back plays almost every minute of every match for them but is suspended for the first leg here. It is expected that Mees de Wit will start in his place, he has played just 696 minutes in all comps this season with just 3 starts. He is against Bowen who draws over 2 fouls per match and may be a bit nervy having hardly played this season. He has averaged 1.3 fouls per 90 this season and committed at least 1 foul in all of his 3 starts. He is currently 1.83 to commit just 1 foul.
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West Ham United v AZ Alkmaar
West Ham have been great at home recently, despite a poor season they have won 6 of their 11 home matches in 2023, only dropping points against teams at the top end of the Premier League. The Hammers have won all their home games in the Conference League this season and have even won 5 of their 6 away games. AZ are a good team and should not be underestimated but struggle away from home.
They lost to Anderlecht in the last round and while they beat Lazio in the previous round, the xG score was a 1.3-0.7 loss. In their last league game, while they drew 0-0 away at Ajax, they were beaten 2.4-1.0 on xG with Ajax just unable to find the winning goal.
AZ’s last match was against Ajax and they were run ragged by Brian Brobbey. Brobbey is a very similar striker to Antonio, he is strong, can play with his back to goal and run in behind and is an all around nuisance for opposition defences.
Brobbey had 4 shots with 2 on target and really should have scored. Antonio has averaged 0.61 shots on target per 90 in the Premier League but has averaged 2.29 per 90 in the Conference League. In his home Conference League matches, he has had 2, 1, and 2 shots on target and looks good value for 2 again here.
West Ham win a lot of corners, they have averaged 5.37 corners per 90 this season and have had over 3.5 corners in 8 of their last 11 matches, only failing to do so away at Manchester City, Gent and at home to Liverpool. AZ concede 3.74 corners per 90 in a much weaker league against worse opposition. Ajax had 7 corners against AZ in their last league match and West Ham should easily manage at least 4 here.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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