UEFA Europa Conference League Final Prediction: Italians can get the better of Moyes’ Hammers
6 June 2023
West Ham United are just 90 minutes away from potentially winning their first trophy since 1980, but Fiorentina will be tough to overcome in Wednesday’s UEFA Europa Conference League final.
From the point of view of clubs like these, the introduction of this competition has been a huge success. Many questioned the need for a third UEFA tournament upon its launch in 2021, but the Conference League has already given fans of West Ham, Fiorentina and countless others memories they will never forget. However, only one set of supporters will leave Prague’s Fortuna Arena happy this week.
Make no mistake, this is a huge opportunity for both clubs. Fiorentina’s last piece of silverware was a Coppa Italia in 2001, while West Ham’s was an FA Cup 43 years ago. Both teams have tasted success in Europe before, but their sole Cup Winners’ Cup triumphs were way back in the 1960s.
Fiorentina squeezed past Twente in the Conference League qualification play-offs, before finishing second to Istanbul Basaksehir in the group stage. They turned on the style in the knockout phase: thumping Braga 7-2 on aggregate, before administering 5-1 and 6-4 defeats on Sivasspor and Lech Poznan respectively. In the semis they edged out Basel with virtually the last kick of the game before a penalty shoot-out.
West Ham have saved their best form for Europe: their 14 matches in this tournament, including the qualification play-off, have yielded 13 wins. Even when they were in the Premier League relegation zone, David Moyes’ men continued to pick up positive results in the Conference League. Without the continental competition, Moyes might be out of a job by now. Instead he has the chance to become one of West Ham’s few trophy-winning managers.
Fiorentina play with an easy-on-the-style under Vincenzo Italiano - a manager with a bright future ahead of him. They finished the Serie A season in eighth and reached the Coppa Italia final, which they lost to Inter Milan.
West Ham were disappointing domestically this campaign, but they managed to pull clear of the dropzone late on and ended up with a six-point buffer above the bottom three. Yet it was a clear regression from a seventh-place finish the previous year. Moyes has at times struggled to get the best out of the most talented squad he has had across his two spells at the London Stadium.
Because of the nature of this match and Fiorentina’s possession-based style, Moyes will be able to set his side up with a view to containing their opponents and playing on the counter-attack. Like most European finals, this will probably be a low-scoring affair - a 1-0 win either way is more likely that a 3-3 draw.
This is a tough encounter to call from a betting perspective, but I just give Fiorentina the edge. They are an excellent footballing side and have thrived away from home in the Conference League, beating Hearts (3-0), RFS (3-0), Braga (4-0), Sivasspor (4-1), Lech Poznan (4-1) and Basel (3-1). Back la Viola to squeeze past the Hammers too.
UEFA Europa Conference League Final Prediction
Fiorentina to win @ 2.86
6 June 2023