West Ham are in their first final in over 40 years, taking on a Fiorentina team looking to win their first trophy in over 30 years.
Something has to give – and here’s where a tight battle could be won…
Rice vs Amrabat
Perhaps it is boring to suggest the midfield battle could decide where a big final is won or lost — Sofyan Amrabat certainly thinks so, having kiboshed the idea of his duel with Declan Rice being decisive in an interview this week.
Nevertheless, the match-up between two of the winter World Cup’s outstanding holding midfielders will be intriguing, particularly as both have greater attacking licence for their club sides and both are billed for big summer moves.
Tactical fouls to halt Hammers
Fiorentina head coach Vincenzo Italiano has said that his side are ready to resort to tactical fouling to stop West Ham, a strategy which must be of deep concern to David Moyes, given the way his side have rediscovered their countering mojo in the final months of the campaign.
West Ham must, however, keep their cool and show that they have learned from last season, when ill-discipline was their downfall in defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Moyes’s goalkeeper dilemma
Alphonse Areola will retain his place, but Moyes is already puzzling over an extra-time switch should the match be drifting towards penalties.
Lukasz Fabianski has an outstanding record, having saved seven of the 24 penalties he has faced since joining West Ham, while Areola has conceded all four he has faced in regulation time and failed to keep out any of Blackburn’s 10 spot-kicks in the EFL Cup shootout defeat last year.