Preview: Gent vs. West Ham United

Preview: Gent vs. West Ham United

West Ham United make the trip to Belgium to face Gent on Thursday evening as both teams look to take control of their Europa Conference League quarter-final tie.

The Hammers reached this stage of the competition by thrashing AEK Larnaca, while Gent produced an eye-catching second-leg performance to see off Istanbul Basaksehir.

On more than one occasion, David Moyes has looked in danger of losing his job at West Ham, a consequence of the Hammers frequently flirting with dropping deeper into the Premier League relegation zone.

However, despite recent heavy defeats to Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United, West Ham have still collected 10 points from six matches, that return more than enough to keep the Scot in the dugout at the London Stadium.

Although West Ham sit just three points clear of the drop zone, Saturday’s 1-0 victory away at Fulham has catapulted the club into 14th spot, providing them with some breathing space.

While Premier League survival remains the priority, West Ham supporters have every reason to dream of European silverware, their club having won each of their 10 matches in this competition.

West Ham were provided with a favourable draw in the last 16, as shown by the 6-0 demolition of AEK Larnaca, yet Moyes and his players known that they face the stiffest test of their campaign thus far in the form of Gent.

Preview: Gent vs. West Ham – prediction, team news, lineups

The Belgian side are certainly not among the biggest teams left in the tournament, but a 5-2 aggregate success over Istanbul Basaksehir made the other contenders sit up and take notice.

Gift Orban made history as he scored the fastest-ever hat-trick in European competitions, netting three times in just 205 seconds before teammate Hugo Cuypers remarkably scored a fourth goal in the space of six minutes to put the tie beyond their Turkish opponents.

Hein Vanhaezebrouck’s side have also recently strengthened their position on the domestic front, collecting 13 points from five games to move into fourth position in the table.

Gent are no strangers to upsetting London clubs in European competition, famously beating Tottenham Hotspur by a 3-2 aggregate scoreline in the last 32 of the 2016-17 Europa League.

Gent Europa Conference League form:

Gent form (all competitions):

West Ham United Europa Conference League form:

West Ham United form (all competitions):

We say: Gent 1-2 West Ham United
The inconsistency of West Ham and the desire of Gent to cause a surprise against Premier League opposition makes this a difficult match to call. Nevertheless, given that West Ham boast a perfect record in this competition, we can only back the Hammers to establish a lead ahead of the second leg in England.

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