West Ham United go to Gent, Belgium, on Thursday evening to seize control of their Europa Conference League quarter-final tie.
Although they may not be considered one of the most well-known teams in the tournament, their 5-2 aggregate win over Istanbul Basaksehir certainly caught the attention of their rivals.
Gift Orban scored the fastest hat trick in European competition history during the match. He found the back of the net three times in an incredible 205 seconds, and teammate Hugo Cuypers added another goal just six minutes later to put the tie out of reach for their Turkish opponents.
KAA Gent has also been making waves in their domestic league, having collected 13 points from their last five games, a run that has seen them climb to fourth place.
Gent Form (All Competitions): W W W W D
West Ham United
Despite facing the threat of losing his job due to their frequent flirtation with relegation, Moyes has managed to lead his team to a solid 10-point haul from six matches.
This should be enough to keep him in the dugout at the London Stadium, despite recent heavy defeats to Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United.
While West Ham is currently only three points clear of the drop zone, their 1-0 victory over Fulham on Saturday has given them some breathing space, lifting them to the 14th spot in the Premier League table.
Although their primary focus remains securing Premier League survival, their fans have every reason to dream of European success. West Ham has been sensational in their European campaign, winning all ten matches.
West Ham United Form (All Competitions): D W W L W
Fortunately for the Belgian side, they do not have any injury concerns to worry about. This means that Hein Vanhaezebrouck has a full squad of fit and ready players at his disposal.
West Ham United
Unfortunately for the team, Gianluca Scamacca will be unavailable due to a knee injury.
In addition, there are concerns over the fitness of Lucas Paqueta, who may struggle to shake off a foot issue in time for the match.
KAA Gent expected starting lineup:
Roef; Castro-Montes, Ngadeu, Torunarigha; Samoise, Kums, Hong, Odjidja-Ofoe, Fofana; Orban, Cuypers
West Ham United’s expected starting lineup:
Areola; Coufal, Zouma, Ogbonna, Palmieri; Bowen, Soucek, Rice, Fornals; Ings, Antonio
Head to Head
This upcoming match will mark the third time the two teams have faced each other.
In the previous two meetings, West Ham remained unbeaten.
Their first encounter dates back to September 1964, when West Ham secured a narrow 1-0 victory.
Two weeks later, the teams met again at Upton Park and played out a 1-1 draw.
Time, Date & Venue
Date: Thursday, April 13
Time: 05:45 pm, BST
Venue: Ghelamco Stadium, Gent
West Ham’s inconsistency this season could make it difficult for them to perform at their best. However, their perfect record in this competition so far cannot be ignored.
On the other hand, Gent will be looking to cause an upset against Premier League opposition. They have been in good form recently, both in this competition and domestically, and will be eager to maintain their momentum.