Our match prediction:
Stadionul Marin Anastasovici will host the match between Astra and West Ham United. The Hammers were eliminated by the Romanian side in the Europa League qualifiers last season and the Premier League side are hungry for revenge. Slaven Bilic’s troops impressed in a 3-0 win over Domzale and they will be looking to build on the performance when they take on Astra on Thursday night. West Ham aim to get their job done in the first leg and they are likely to adopt an attack-minded approach in Thursday’s football match against the Romanian side. Andy Carroll is likely to lead the line for the visitors against Astra and he is likely to prove a handful for the opposition back line. Astra were beaten by Copenhagen in the Champions League qualifiers and the lack of confidence might prove to be the team’s biggest problem in the double-header against West Ham United.
Highligted Player (Payet):
Dimitri Payet was born in Saint-Pierre, Reunion on 29 March 1987, but he joined Le Havre’s famous youth academy in 1999 and has since enjoyed a meteoric rise. The attacking midfielder started his professional career at Nantes, but top French clubs soon started casting admiring glances his way and he went on to represent Saint Etienne, Lille and Marseille, becoming one of Ligue 1’s leading footballers. However, it was the move to West Ham that placed Payet on the map as the Frenchman enjoyed a brilliant start to his career in England, making the PFA Player of the Year Shortlist. Some excellent performances in the Premier League persuaded France coach Didier Deschamps to reinstate Payet into his starting line-up and the midfielder paid the coach back with some scintillating displays on international stage. Excellent with the ball at his feet and very dangerous from set pieces, Payet quickly established himself as one of Europe’s top midfielders, with the likes of Barcelona, Arsenal and other top clubs now after his signature.
Highlighted Team (West Ham United):
West Ham United are an English football club based in East London. The club was founded in 1895 and it has to be noted that the club’s name was Thames Ironworks back then. The Hammers were playing their home games at Upton Park from 1904 until 2016, when they moved to the Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. West Ham have won three FA Cup trophies (1964, 1975 and 1980) and they were runners-up in 1923 and 2006. The capital club finished the 1985/1986 England first division campaign in third place in the standings and that is the club’s highest placing in the top flight. West Ham United have strong rivalries with fellow London clubs, but Tottenham Hotspur are considered the club’s main rivals. A number of top-class players were part of West Ham in the past and the likes of Joe Cole, Carlos Tevez, Paolo Di Canio, Paul Ince, Julian Dicks, Shaka Hislop, Michael Carrick and Slaven Bilic are some of them.