Our match prediction:
West Ham United were on the verge of beating Astra in Romania in the Europa League play-offs, first leg, but the Romanian outfit eventually scored a late equaliser. The Hammers failed to get their revenge on Astra for the defeat in the 2015/2016 Europa League qualifiers, but they will have yet another chance to do so. West Ham recorded a hard-fought 1-0 win over Bournemouth at the weekend and they will be looking to build on the win when they take on Astra at their London Stadium. The Premier League team rolled over Domzale (3-0) on their debut at the new stadium and we predict that the Hammers are going to defeat the Romanian side without any difficulties. Croatian tactician Slaven Bilic has a number of high-profile players to choose from and, taking everything into account, the visitors are unlikely to grab something from Thursday’s football match.
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.