Now that the last English match of the 2023 season (City winning the Manchester Derby FA Cup Final earlier this afternoon), we now look ahead to the first of the two remaining European Cup Finals, the UECL. Yes, indeed the UEFA Europa Conference League final will be upon us this Wednesday night, with West Ham United, hailing from England, taking on Italian club ACF Fiorentina in the Czech Republic’s capital city.
Then next Saturday brings the UEFA Champions League final, which is another Italy vs England matchup- Manchester City vs. Inter Milan.
West Ham United vs ACF Fiorentina FYIs
UECL Final, Eden Arena, Prague
Kickoff: 3pm ET June 7, 2023
Starting XI Predictions for both sides: go here
Transatlantic Passage: How the Premier League Redefined Soccer in America: LINK
UECL Team News for Both Sides
Once the last whistle is blown on the UCL and UECL clashes, we will have finally reached the end of the 2023 season, which is the longest non-Covid interrupted campaign ever.
Gianluca Scamacca is the only injury absentee for West Ham United, while Kurt Zouma is now finally fully match fit, and will look to go the full 90 minutes here. But way beyond the importance of one’s physical fitness is their state of mental fitness. We were all horrified when we saw the video of Kurt Zouma kicking his pet cat about a year and a half ago.
The context made it seem like feline abuse was an ongoing, regular thing with him. The well-deserved widespread outrage almost cost Zouma his career, and the Frenchman recently spoke out about the whole situation a couple days ago. He did a media interview that is making the rounds online right now.
Shifting over to Fiorentina, Nicolas Gonzalez is one of the side’s best players, but the Argentine winger limped off injured in the win over Sassuolo.
Ditto for star midfielder Gaetano Castrovilli.
Fiorentina manager Vincenzo Italiano says he’s concerned about the availability of both players, ahead of this match. However, he remains hopeful that both could still be match fit for the final.
“Nico collided with the post and that looked pretty painful, but I hope it is nothing but a bruise,” Italiano told DAZN after his side’s final Serie A clash.
“Gaetano was frightened, as his knee had a strange movement, but it seems to be fine now. He was much calmer in the locker room.”
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.