The semi-finals of the Europa Conference League start on Thursday with AZ Alkmaar traveling to face West Ham United in London.

It has been an excellent European campaign so far for AZ Alkmaar, who are the last remaining Dutch team in Europe.

After seeing off Lazio and Anderlecht, AZ now needs to overcome West Ham United for a place in the final.

Speaking at his pre-game press conference, Pascal Jansen said on their opponents, “They have a lot of power there, but they have that in every position. That’s not surprising when you play in the Premier League. We just have to do what we are good at, with a lot of respect for what the opponent is capable of. We will not have to expose our naivety, but we must rely on our own strengths.”

West Ham overcame Anderlecht, Silkeborg and FCSB in the group stage and then got past AEK Larneca and Gent to set up the semi-final against AZ. They may sit 15th in the Premier League, but they defeated Manchester United 1-0 at the weekend.

AZ Alkmaar goes into the game fourth in the Eredivisie after they drew 0-0 at Ajax on Saturday evening.

Team News

AZ are without the injured Jasper Karlsson and Bruno Martins Indi, while Milos Kerkez is suspended. Jens Odgaard is expected to be fit enough to play after coming off injured against Ajax.

Possible AZ Alkmaar line-up: Ryan, Sugawara, De Wit, Hatzidiakos, Beukema, Clasie, Reijnders, Mijnans, Van Brederode, Odgaard, Pavlidis

Kurt Zouma is a big doubt for West Ham, who could name the same eleven that defeated Manchester United at the weekend.

Possible West Ham line-up: Areola; Kehrer, Aguerd, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice; Bowen, Paqueta, Benrahma; Antonio

Odds

West Ham United 11/20 Draw 3/1 AZ Alkmaar 21/4

Can AZ get a victory in London?

AZ Alkmaar should not be scared of anyone in the tournament and they have a good chance of reaching the final if they play to their strengths and take their chances.

West Ham United have had a disappointing league campaign and AZ will be the strongest side they have faced so far in the competition.

A draw would be an excellent result for AZ to take back to the Netherlands next week but it will be a tough job for the Dutch side to stop the Premier League side. Declan Rice, Lucas Paqueta and Jarrod Bowen are all strong players and they will be tough to stop if they replicate their form from the weekend.




admin (14500 Posts)

Follow @Footballoranje_ on Twitter