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Gent vs West Ham predictions: Gent frontmen can trouble Hammers
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Simon Barlow
David Moyes' West Ham are heading to Belgium to face Gent in Europe
David Moyes' West Ham are heading to Belgium to face Gent in Europe

- Gent are undefeated in seven, averaging over 2.1 goals per game
- Belgian sides have avoided defeat in six of their last nine home games v PL teams
- Recommended Bet: Back Gent or Tie and over 1.5 goals

Simon Barlow was spot on when he predicted Celtic would beat Rangers and both teams would score on Saturday, and now he casts his eye on West Ham's tricky Europa Conference League tie at Gent on Thursday.

West Ham are at the Ghelamco Arena for the first leg of their Europa Conference League quarter-final, where they will face a side who sit fourth in the Belgian top flight. 

The Hammers maintained a perfect record of 10 wins from 10 in the competition by thrashing AEK Larnaca 6-0 over two legs last month, while Gent produced a scintillating second-leg performance to see off Istanbul Basaksehir 5-2 on aggregate in the last-16. 

The Buffaloes are undefeated in seven matches across all competitions, winning five of them, although they were held 1-1 at home by Europa League quarter-finalists Union Saint-Gilloise at the weekend. 

West Ham won 1-0 at Fulham on Saturday to climb into 14th place in the Premier League, four places and three points above the drop zone, and ease the pressure on manager David Moyes. 

Team news

Gent boss Hein Vanhaezebrouck looks set to continue his policy of rotating goalkeepers Davy Roef and Paul Nardi between competitions with the former getting the starts in the Conference League. 

Gent boss Hein Vanhaezebrouck will be after a shock win for his side against Premier League West Ham
Gent boss Hein Vanhaezebrouck will be after a shock win for his side against Premier League West Ham

Other changes are also likely with Kamil Piatkowski coming back into the Buffaloes' defence and Hong Hyun-Seok hoping for a recall in midfield, possibly at the expense of Alessio Castro-Montes and Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe. 

There will be no alterations made in attack, however, with both January signing Gift Orban and top scorer Hugo Cuypers in electrifying form. 

As for West Ham, Moyes must decide whether to stick with the 4-4-2 formation he deployed against Fulham or revert back to a three-man midfield. 

The Scotsman dropped Emerson Palmieri, Nayef Aguerd and Thilo Kehrer — three-quarters of the back four that were taken apart by Newcastle last Wednesday — at the weekend and seems unlikely to change much back there. 

Alphonse Areola could return in goal, but Gianluca Scamacca is out with a knee injury and Lucas Paqueta may struggle to shake off a foot issue in time. 

The stats

Orban has scored 14 goals in 12 appearances across all competitions for Gent since his arrival at the club. 

His second-leg hat-trick against Istanbul Basaksehir was timed at three minutes and 25 seconds — the fastest ever recorded in UEFA club competition. 

West Ham have faced Belgian opponents already in the Conference League this season, beating group rivals Anderlecht both home and away by scores of 1-0 and 2-1. 

Meanwhile, Gent also took maximum points from their two domestic clashes with the Brussels outfit, winning both games 1-0. 


The Premier League side are expected to blow Gent away with their greater intensity and physicality, but this match could hinge on another element in which the hosts have a clear advantage. 

The Buffaloes have two deadly strikers that look capable of finding the back of the net while neither Danny Ings or Michail Antonio have notched for West Ham in over a month. 

Ings' goal drought extended to seven games last weekend and Antonio's only goals since February came against an ill-matched and ill-prepared AEK Larnaca side. 

Orban and Cuypers, in contrast, have bagged 14 goals between them in the last 28 days and can ensure Gent take at least a draw to London Stadium for the second leg. 

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