West Ham kickstart their second successive season of continental football this evening when they take on FCSB in the Europa Conference League (8pm kick-off, UK time).
Having reached the semi-finals of the Europa League last term, David Moyes will no doubt be eager to put together another deep run in the latter stages of another continental competition.
The Hammers have previous against Romanian clubs, and in particular, FCSB, or as they were known back when they last met: Steaua Bucharest. In the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup, Harry Redknapp’s Hammers — containing the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Paolo Di Canio — lost to Steaua Bucharest in the second round. Nearly 20 years on, Moyes has a chance to banish those ghosts and get off the mark in Group B.
How to live stream West Ham vs FCSB online:
- DAZN are streaming this match live for account holders in Canada.
Where to watch West Ham vs FCSB on TV:
- UK: BT Sport 2
- US: Paramount+
West Ham vs FCSB betting tips from Squawka Bet
- Gianluca Scamacca to score a header @8/1 with Sky Bet
- Declan Rice over 3 tackles @8/5 with William Hill
18+ only. Please gamble responsibly. For more information, visit begambleaware.org. All odds and offers in this article are valid at time of publication.
West Ham team news
Moyes confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Gianluca Scamacca has returned to training after struggling with a bout of illness that kept him sidelined against Tottenham and Chelsea. Craig Dawson is also back at Rush Green following an injury and a failed deadline-day move to the Midlands, but Ben Johnson and Aaron Cresswell remain out of action.
Tomas Soucek is also a doubt after picking up a knock to his foot in the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at the weekend. And elsewhere, long-term absentee Nayef Aguerd remains out for the foreseeable future — but Moyes did provide a quick positive update about his recovery progress.
“[Nayef] returned on Tuesday,” said Moyes. “He has been away. He is now out of his boot – he is seeing the specialist today to get the six-week go ahead for the next part [of his recovery]. Hopefully that is all good.”
Declan Rice also returns after serving out a two-game European ban.
FCSB team news
There are one or two interesting names in the FCSB squad that West Ham should be wary of, but the pick of the bunch is unquestionably Octavian Popescu. The 19-year-old wonderkid is still in his teenage years but already dons the club’s pre-eminent No. 10 shirt, has racked up nearly 100 appearances for the Red and Blues and is already their vice-captain.
?? Octavian Popescu
◉ 18 years old
The heir to Gheorghe Hagi's throne and some of the most exciting player traits you can get on #FM22
That's why his release clause is reportedly €100m. ? pic.twitter.com/0zfJMa5SOO
— Squawka (@Squawka) November 17, 2021
It is perhaps fitting that Popescu currently sports the fabled 10 jersey, one immortalised by legendary Romanian playmaker Gheorghe Hagi, who famously guided Steaua Bucharest to the 1988/89 European Cup final and won the 1986 European Super Cup, scoring the only goal in the showpiece against Dynamo Kyiv.
Popescu has been likened to his predecessor in terms of his style of play, with both possessing a fleet-footedness that allows them to deceptively glide past opposition players while keeping the ball glued to their boot. An ambipedal attacker, the teenage tyro will need to tracked all game or he could capitalise on any lapses in concentration. Rice’s return from suspension could be key here.
Scoreline prediction: West Ham 2-0 FCSB
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