Astra Giurgiu vs West Ham Preview, Prediction and Betting Tips
The Hammers have just three days to prepare for their first leg tie with Astra. It’s like we’ll see a repeat of the last round, where United weren’t at full strength in the first league and relied on home form to see them through. Below is our match preview, prediction and betting tips.
Game: Astra Giurgiu vs West Ham
Venue: Stadionul Marin Anastasovici
Kick off: 7.15pm Thursday 18th August
West Ham were beaten 2-1 when they visited Domzale for their first leg tie in the last round and hosts Astra will be hoping to capitalise on a short turnaround for the Hammers. West Ham looked like they had secured a late point at Chelsea on Monday evening, only to lose out to a late Diego Costa goal.
Chelsea were dominant for 70 minutes of the all London affair and West Ham looked a shadow of themselves with Payet sat on the bench. It may be that Payet was being looked after ahead of this Europa League tie, but Billic game plan seemed to have come good when from a Payet corner West Ham equalised late on.
Hearts were broken approaching injury time as Diego Costa fired in from outside of the box. It was a more than fair result after a casual West Ham performance, meaning the Hammers have now lost three of four.
Astra are four games in to their season and currently have four points. They prioritised the Champions League (despite going out) and have paid for it, losing their home games 1-2 and 1-4. Astra hadn’t lost at home in the previous year, so they’ll be no pushover here.
Match Predictions and Betting Tips
West Ham are favourites to win at best odds of 4/6 with William Hill, but they were a shorter price ahead of their 2-1 loss to Domzale. The draw is available at 14/5 with Boylesports whilst the home side Astra are best odds 17/4 with Bet365.
West Ham may be expected to play a weakened line-up here – and they probably will – but with no clear indication that Payet was suffering from any knocks or fatigue, I think Billic had one mind on Thursday. Even if Payet wasn’t fully fit, a half fit Payet would have changed the game, and he could have rested on Thursday.
West Ham made light work of Domzale at home, so this leg isn’t the be all end all. They were beaten 2-1 away and the hosts probably should have scored more goals. West Ham’s defence have now allowed nine goals in four away games since the start of pre-season and they’ve allowed goals in three of four recent Europa League away games.
Domestically Astra have found the net in 29 of their last 32 home games. They played against a very different level of opposition, but it’s a good position to be in. They’re in good habits and they’ll be confidence. It goes without saying a Premier League side should score against a team of this quality though, home or away. That leads us to our free betting tip of Both Teams To Score at best odds of 5/6 with Bet365.We were successful with the same market on Tuesday and came within seconds of a correct score prediction. You’ll have to forgive me for not predicting a James Collins half volley from the edge of the box, though.
Most interesting of all about this fixture? The sides met this time last year. Astra came from behind to win 2-1 before drawing the second league 2-2 and eliminating a full strength West Ham side. Do not underestimate the hosts, here. You can back my 2-2 prediction at 18/1 with William Hill.
I think we’ll see plenty of goals in this one. West Ham have been defending poorly, but they’ll be happy to push forward and take the initiative. Given we expect rotation, someone like youngster Ashley Fletcher could be good value to get his first Europa League goal at a price of 19/10 with Betfair.
Free Betting Tip
Both Teams Score – 5/6 with Bet365
Correct Score Prediction
2-2 – 18/1 with William Hill
Ashley Fletcher – 19/10 with Betfair