Italian team Fiorentina will play Premier League side West Ham United in the 2022-23 UEFA Europa Conference Final tonight, in what will be the first major European meeting between the two sides (no, the Anglo Italian Cup doesn’t count).
Fiorentina come into the game following an eighth-place finish in Serie A this season, with more than one goal threat in their side. The forward trio of Arthur Cabral (17 goals), Nicolás González (14) and Luka Jovic (13) have all reached double figures for goals scored across all competitions in 2022-23.
He’ll be amongst the best players in the final and should be expected to lift the trophy after 90 minutes, if he performs to his potential for West Ham. A key match-up will also include him marking top scorer Arthur Cabral and limiting his movements and scoring threat in the penalty area, and makes for a fascinating match-up.
West Ham ended the season 14th in the Premier League, but the London club are a different proposition in the UECL this season. The Hammers have won 11 of their 12 games in the competition – 13 if you include qualifiers. Their tally of wins in the competition proper is exactly the same as the number of Premier League games they won in 2022-23 (11 of 38).
Speaking ahead of the final, he said: “When I realised a year ago that the UEFA Europa Conference League final was going to be in Prague, I was telling the rest of the squad that we had to be here.
The massive news in the Fiorentina XI is that 17-goal Arthur Cabral only makes the substitutes bench. The more creative Christian Kouamé – who is second in Fiorentina’s competitive assist rankings with 12 this season – makes the starting line-up, playing in a three-pronged attack alongside Luka Jovic and Nicolás González. As expected, midfielder Gaetano Castrovilli misses out for Fiorentina with a knee injury.
However, the Scotsman will have the opportunity to put all these rumours to rest, if he’s able to help his side win a European trophy after their last European Cup Winners’ Cup win in 1965. The Hammers have been able to manage injuries, the uncertainty of their top players leaving in the summer, and an ageing squad to reach the penultimate stage, while beating AEK, Gent and AZ Alkmaar in the knockout stages.
Fiorentina is in their second season under manager Vincenzo Italiano has been a relatively successful one, given The Viola returned to the European stage after an absence of five years, with a final day victory over Juventus in the last match of the season, in 2021-22.
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Stadium: Fortuna Arena
Date: Wednesday 7 June
Kick-off Time: 20:00 BST / 15:00 ET / 12:00 PT
Referee: Carlos del Cerro Grande (ESP)
VAR: Juan Martinez Munuera (ESP)
Due to the heavy spending last summer, David Moyes was under pressure to deliver results. Without those, his job has come under massive scrutiny, with many believing he could get the sack when the season ends. If that were the case, the Scotsman would like to end a massive trophy drought at West Ham, who have not won anything since the 1980 FA Cup.