West Ham well placed


Can West Ham hang on to their one goal lead tonight?

Twelve months on from losing their Europa League semi-final to eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt, West Ham are well placed to reach their first European final since 1976.

We seem to be making a name for themselves as comeback specialists having won four ECL matches when conceding the opening goa.

We beat FCSB, Silkeborg, Gent and now AZ, and remain the only team who are yet to lose in this season’s competition, putting together a 13-game unbeaten run.

West Ham, who have progressed from all nine of their previous European knockout ties when winning the first leg, require just a draw tonight to reach next month’s final.

Our form away from home though is sure to be a concern for David Moyes as his side have lost six of their last 10 matches on the road in all tournaments, including each of their last three.

The Hammers’ latest setback on their travels came against Brentford where they suffered a 2-0 Premier League defeat on Sunday, with first-half goals from Mbuema and Wissa condemning Moyes’s much-rotated side to their 19th top-flight defeat of the season.

Unlike AZ, West Ham have endured a disappointing domestic campaign and have been languishing at the wrong end of the table for some time.

Despite that, they have all but secured their Premier League status for next season as they sit six points clear of the relegation zone with just two games remaining, meaning they can now essentially prioritise their European campaign.

The pressure remains on our supremo’s shoulders, though, with the Scotsman tasked with ending the club’s 43-year wait for silverware and securing only the first trophy of his managerial career – a feat that could potentially save his job in the Hammers hot seat.

By Simon Leyland

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