Fiorentina vs West Ham United preview
The Europa Conference league final, Fiorentina vs West Ham United preview, as they meet on Czech capital, with Fiorentina come after 22 years ago and the hammers waited almost twice as long as they did.
Three decades after their most recent European final appearance – a defeat to Serie A rivals Juventus in the 1990 UEFA Cup showpiece – Fiorentina will become the first club to feature in all four UEFA club competition finals when they stride out on Wednesday night.
Vincenzo Italiano‘s men will also follow in the footsteps of Viola sides that have featured in the European Cup and Cup-Winners’ Cup deciders, having forged their own path to Prague in impressive style this season.
Comfortably the Europa Conference League’s leading scorers, Fiorentina have racked up some 36 goals in 14 games during the process – nine more than second-ranked West Ham, albeit having played two more matches. The match with Bournemouth, West Ham had a big victory with 4-0 as in the league premises.
With Brazilian striker Arthur Cabral setting the pace on seven strikes so far, 21 of those goals were scored away from home, and the Viola have netted at least three times on each of their last six European road trips; winning on each occasion.
The Tuscan club have actually lost three matches already: finishing runners-up in Group A, before brushing aside Braga, Sivasspor and Lech Poznan to make the semi-finals, where Basel lay in wait. It took extra time to see off the stubborn Swiss side, and Antonin Barak’s late winner helped avoid the lottery of penalties; setting up the chance to become Italy’s second successive Conference League winners.
By rallying towards the end of their domestic season, Fiorentina finished eighth in Serie A when the campaign concluded last weekend, and a run of three wins from four ended with Friday’s 3-1 win at Sassuolo.
Nonetheless, only if Juventus are ultimately banned from UEFA competition will the Viola qualify for more European football next term, so with Wednesday’s winners gaining direct entry to the 2023-24 Europa League group stage, the stakes are even higher when they meet West Ham.
While Italiano has been lauded for introducing a slick style of play and reviving Fiorentina’s flagging fortunes, the pressure is now on to secure silverware for a club whose last major trophy was the Coppa Italia of 2001. Failure in this year’s cup final versus Inter saw one shot at glory come to nothing, so everything now rides on the season finale.
Team News and Injury
Once again, Vincenzo Italiano rotated his Fiorentina squad at the weekend, in order to keep key men fresh for Wednesday’s showpiece occasion, and with most players available he will be tasked with settling on his strongest XI.
Only back-up goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu is sidelined by injury, while Nicolas Gonzalez should be fit to start despite crashing into the goalpost in scoring the Viola’s final goal of the Serie A season.
Having also netted twice in last month’s win over Basel, the Argentina winger should support central striker Arthur Cabral from the right, but other places in Italiano’s attacking unit appear up for grabs.
Czech playmaker Antonin Barak is among those in contention: the semi-final matchwinner played for final hosts Slavia Prague prior to moving to Italy.
Both Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal also turned out at the Fortuna Arena during their time at the same club, and the pair should feature for West Ham in midweek.
Joining Soucek in the English side’s engine room, captain Declan Rice will most likely sign off on his Hammers career before departing for pastures new this summer. Elsewhere, cup goalkeeper Alphonse Areola replaces Premier League first-choice Lukas Fabianski.
Gianluca Scamacca – recently linked with a loan move back to Serie A in the summer – is set to be West Ham’s sole absentee, having recently undergone knee surgery. With his place almost uncontested, then, Michail Antonio starts up front.
Fiorentina have an excellent historical record against West Ham United and have won the two matches that have been played between the two teams. The Hammers are yet to win a match against La Viola.
Fiorentina are unbeaten in four of their last five matches in all competitions, with their only defeat during this period coming by a 2-1 margin at the hands of Inter Milan in the Coppa Italia final.
West Ham United have conceded nine goals in their last five matches in all competitions, with their only clean sheet during this period coming in a 1-0 victory against AZ Alkmaar.
Fiorentina have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last five matches in all competitions but have also managed to find the back of the net in each of these games.
Fiorentina vs West Ham United Prediction
West Ham United have an impressive squad at their disposal but have flattered to deceive this season. Antonio can be highly effective on their day and have a point to prove this week.
On Fiorentina have troubled in the Serie A and will need to adapt to formidable opponent on Wednesday meetings.