It’s time to once again look to Europe as the Hammers head to Athens Greece. At first look it seems a difficult game, as most away days are in Europe. If you are one of the Hammers faithful heading to Greece, check out our Hammers Travel Guide to Athens.
Olympiacos F.C. lead their domestic league. They are undefeated, with 20 points from the available 24. Their goal difference is impressive too, with the Athens side only conceding 3 goals while managing to score 23 goals at the other end of the pitch. They have put on great displays in the Europa league too, however haven’t been rewarded so far, taking 1 point from their opening two games. This has them sat in joint 3rd place in the group, level with Backa Topola. This means they need a home win against West Ham if they wish to progress to the knockouts.
The West Ham United players should anticipate a red-hot atmosphere out in Athens. Olympiacos F.C. saw their latest league match abandoned after a firework struck a player, in a very tense derby against Panathinaikos F.C. The Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium is known too many as the “Gates of Hell” for away teams, especially teams from foreign shores, so all traveling fans should approach the game with caution.
Who too look out for?
On-form Number 9:
Olympiacos F.C. striker Ayoub El Kaabi has been in fine form this season, registering 7 goals in 8 games in the Greek Super League 1. He is also the teams top scorer in the Europa league, scoring in both of their games in the competition so far. He has started the vast majority of games this season and has spear-headed the team to many wins. the Moroccan striker is a traditional number 9, by that I mean his number 1 priority is to score goals. He has no assists this season and is known for his selfishness inside the box, which this predictability makes him a little easier to deal with. Albeit he is in-form and will surely test Areola throughout the game.
A familiar site:
Wolves winger Daniel Podence has started his season long loan well with 5 goals contributions coming from 3 goals and 2 assists. His Premier league experience has served him well, as in the Olympiacos side he looks to be the most technical player in the team. He will surely influence the game, as starting him against an English side makes sense.
The Greek giant between the sticks:
Alexandros Paschalakis boasts an impressive 5 clean sheets, in 7 games, in the league for Olympiacos, where he only let in 1 goal in the two games he didn’t manage a clean sheet. Paschalakis may be a name you haven’t heard of before as the Greek has played his whole career in his home country, and only has 5 appearances for the national side. However he’s shown some impressive displays this season. He stands at 6. 5″ so you won’t miss him. Although he has been impressive in the Super League 1, he hasn’t had such impressive games in the Europa league, where he played in their 2-3 loss to SC Freiburg and in there 2-2 draw with Backa Topola, which shows us that against better strikers he hasn’t been able to perform.
I can’t see anything but a West Ham win. The gap in talent should be far too big for Olympiacos to cope, where I see Moyes deploying a more attack minded line-up. Kudos is sure to start, and with Ward-Prowse being afforded more time and space than we see him get in the league, the Hammers are sure to dominate. I predict a comfy 3-0 West Ham win, and with it the West London side can be rest assured they will make it out of the group stage. Come on you Hammers!
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