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West Ham vs KAA Gent predictions: Hammers can nail a semi-final berth
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Dan Sait
The Conference League has been a welcome distraction for West Ham
The Conference League has been a welcome distraction for West Ham

- West Ham have won 10 of their 11 games in the Europa Conference League 
- KAA Gent showed fine attacking quality in the first leg 
- Recommended bet: West Ham to win and both teams to score

West Ham had to battle for their 1-1 first-leg draw against KAA Gent but while David Moyes’ men were clinging on for long spells in Belgium they will now feel confident of progressing into the Europa Conference League semi-finals.

It has been a strange season for the Hammers, who remain in the thick of the Premier League relegation scrap yet had cruised through Europe until last Thursday’s hard-fought encounter.

The drop in quality in this competition is one factor but pressure has also played a part, with West Ham playing with freedom and flair in Europe but struggling to produce their best football under the threat of relegation.

However, Sunday’s impressive come-from-behind draw against Arsenal should boost confidence to help the Hammers show their best form in the latter stages of the campaign — a season that has often threatened disaster could yet come good and return a first European trophy since 1965.

Defender Angelo Ogbonna will miss out for West Ham
Defender Angelo Ogbonna will miss out for West Ham

Team news

West Ham’s Angelo Ogbonna is suspended and fellow centre-back Nayef Aguerd is a doubt despite returning to training.

Striker Gianluca Scamacca is out for the season following knee surgery.

Gent manager Hein Vanhaezebrouck has attacking midfielder Andrew Hjulsager out with an Achilles injury and forward Darko Lemajic is an injury doubt.

The stats

Last week’s 1-1 stalemate in Belgium was West Ham’s first European draw this season, with Moyes’ men winning all 10 of their other Conference League matches.

West Ham have scored an average of 2.36 goals per game in the competition while conceding just 0.55.

Gent’s progress has been far less straightforward. They took just eight points from a possible 18 in the group stage — losing home and away to group winners Djurgarden — and needed penalties to get past Qarabag in the play-off round.

However, they did then beat Basaksehir 5-2 on aggregate after winning the second leg 4-1 in Turkey.

That four-goal haul in Istanbul is part of a run of high-scoring matches for the visitors, whose last four away games have seen them hit tallies of six, four, five and one goal.

Vanhaezebrouck’s side have not failed to score in any of their last nine outings.

Gent will fancy their chances of breaching a West Ham side who have conceded seven goals in their last two home games but the Hammers have also avoided defeat in seven of their last eight at the London Stadium, including the 2-2 draw against Arsenal.


Gent showed enough quality in the first leg to suggest they can trouble West Ham in east London, but Moyes’ men should pass the test and book a place in the semi-finals.

Jarrod Bowen and Danny Ings are both solid goalscorer options for Bet Builder selections, with Bowen on a high after his excellently taken goal against Arsenal and Ings possessing the class to breach the Gent backline — as he showed in the away leg.

And while West Ham can be expected to outclass a team who are struggling to secure a European finish in a weaker Belgium league, it might not be a cakewalk against a team who have found their shooting boots of late.

Heavily odds-on prices about the home win are hard to get excited about but with the Hammers struggling defensively it could pay to go for a bigger priced West Ham win by adding in a consolation goal for lively visitors.

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