AZ Alkmaar vs West Ham UnitedUEFA Europa League Conference, KO: 20:00 May 18, 2023, AFAS Stadion
WEST HAM UNITED haven't won a trophy for 43 years, but they could go a major step to ripping that up if they can negotiate a tricky Europa Conference Leagie semi-final second leg at AZ Alkmaar.
The Hammers take a 2-1 first leg lead to the Netherlands, but they were handed a real fright by the third best team in the Dutch Eredivisie who took the lead in London.
And they have every reason to be wary of the hosts, who were 2-0 down in the quarter-final to Anderlecht, before a stirring comeback that saw them eventually win on penalties.
David Moyes' side are surely just about safe from relegation from the Premier League. They are six points clear from the drop zone with two games to go with a superior goal difference and play third bottom Leeds next.
It's not been a vintage season by any means, but winning in Europe would see them reach legendary status in the east end of London.
AZ come into this game in ominous form after a 5-1 thrashing of Emmen at the weekend and got a draw in Amsterdam against Ajax in the previous league game.
And winning home and away against Lazio in an earlier round tells you that they are dangerous opponents.
How the bookies view it
AZ are narrow favourites here at 33/20 with UniBet.
West Ham United can be backed at 15/8 with Betfair and the draw is 5/2.
AZ are 11/4 to qualify and West Ham are 1/4 with UniBet.
Recent head to heads
The first leg scored finished, as stated in a 2-1 win for the hosts after AZ had taken a first half lead at the London Stadium.
Players to watch
Greek hitman Evangelos Pavlidis has 22 goals already this season for club and country. He is 15/8 to core anytime with bet365.
Said Benrahma scored in the first leg in England from the penalty spot to bring the Irons back into the tie and the Algerian is 11/4 to net with bet365.
Anything else catch the eye?
West Ham suffered an agonising loss in the semi-final stage last season in the Europa League and they could get the same fate in this competition too.
By rights, a team from the riches of the English Premier League should be trampling over modest Dutch opposition, but AZ are a good team and have fared extremely well in Europe this season.
They managed to overturn first leg adversity before and the bet could be for them to qualify at 11/4. They needed extra time and penalties to get past Anderlecht and might need it again to get past West Ham.
Remarkably, this is their 18th game in the competition and they have an excellent home record which included battering Dundee United 7-0 in the summer.
It could be worth backing West Ham to win most corners at 21/20 with bet365 too. AZ failed to win a single one in the first leg and even when chasing the game in the last round against Anderlecht, they only won one.
This UEFA Europa League Conference match between AZ Alkmaar and West Ham United will be played on May 18, 2023 and kick off at 20:00. Check below for our tipsters best AZ Alkmaar vs West Ham United prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.