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At last, something to take the pressure off the Irons

Finally something to look forward to…!

Later today West Ham United will discover who they will face in the Europa Conference League’s round of 16.

The draw, which is due to take place at midday UK time, and will see the Hammers face one of the eight sides who won their two-legged play-off knockout round ties, with the games taking place on Thursday evenings.

Of the eight sides who the Irons could face, Serie A duo Lazio and Fiorentina are possibilities, with them both winning play-off games against Cluj and Braga respectively.

The rest of the list of opponents consists of Sheriff (Moldova), AEK Larnaca (Cyprus), Basel (Switzerland), Lech Poznan (Poland), Anderlecht (Belgium) and Gent (Belgium).

Ahead of the draw, let`s have a look at who we might get.

Of the eight possible opponents, four are currently ranked outside of UEFA’s top 100 clubs, based on their UEFA Club Coefficient Rankings. West Ham are ranked 48th.

The lowest-ranked side who West Ham could face is AEK Larnaca, sat 142nd in the rankings, play their club football in Cyprus and currently sit top of their domestic league.

The next lowest-ranked side is the once mighty Anderlecht from Belgium, who West Ham have already beaten twice in this season’s group stage. They beat Ludogorets via penalties to get into the round of 16.

Italian side Fiorentina (102nd) and Polish team Lech Poznan (110th) are also ranked outside of the top 100. Swiss side Basel are the highest-ranked opponent West Ham could face on paper, sat 35th in Europe.

The next-highest ranked is Lazio, who rather unluckily fell out of the Europa League, with all four teams in their group ending on eight points after two wins, two draws and two losses.

Moldovan outfit Sheriff, ranked 81st, would be a very awkward tie for the Hammers, who currently sit top of the Moldovan top-flight.

Belgian side Gent would also be no pushovers for West Ham. They sit 51st in UEFA’s rankings and fifth in the Belgian Pro League, a point behind the competition’s Championship round. They beat Azerbaijani outfit, the bad Scrabble hand sounding, Qarabag on penalties.

Perhaps this is just what we need to take the day to day pressure off us in our struggle to stay in the Premiership?


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