Match Preview: West Ham United U23s vs SL Benfica B: Premier League International Cup Group F Matchday Three

Premier League 2

In the third round of Group F matches for the 2017/2018 Premier League International Cup, Benfica B travel to Essex to face off with Terry Westley’s U23s in an exciting European clash.

The Hammer starlets go into the eagerly-awaited matchup off the back of a magnificent run-ending 1-5 defeat to Derby County at The London Stadium on Friday night, meanwhile, the Portuguese youngsters were bested 3-4 by Penafiel last time out, balancing the scales nicely ahead of the encounter.

When?

The Cup game is scheduled for tonight (Tuesday 21 November) with a kick-off time of 7 PM GMT and no Television Coverage available for viewing in the UK unfortunately.

Additionally, you also can’t rely on any Radio Station for Live Commentary either, but never fear, you can head over to @MooreThanAClub for live build-up, updates, and reaction from Essex.

Where?

The visit of Benfica will be held at Billericay Town’s AGP Arena, formerly known as The New Lodge, Owned by controversial Businessman and Manager Glenn Tamplin.

It has a Capacity of just over 3,500 and was the site of a friendly with a West Ham United Xl in August of this year, tonight will be the first time that The Reds have visited The Stadium.

Team News:

Terry Westley, speaking ahead of the encounter commented that he would be looking to give some of The U18 starlets their U23 debuts, with the assumption that he will rest the likes of Dan Kemp, Moses Makasi, and Martin Samuelsen.

With the young Hammers already mathematically out of the Competition, this is hardly surprising and those who have impressed for Steve Potts’ side of late, including Sean Adarwkwa, Korrey Henry, and Anouar El Mhassani, although Jahmal Hector-Ingram will return.

Meanwhile, Reds Boss Helder Cristovao is expected to field a strong team in the knowledge that his young side could still clinch a place in The PLI Cup Knockout Rounds.

His Xl could involve such young talents as Portugal U19 stars Joao Filipe, Gedson Fernandes, and Helder Balde, not to forget young Englishman Chris Willock and Brazilian prospect Alan Junior.

Form:

The Development Squads of West Ham United and Benfica have never before met in Youth football, making this evening a record-breaking night to remember in Essex.

However, although the Senior teams of the two clubs have never faced off with each other either, a hybrid of the U18 and U23 teams have, coming together at the recent Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup with The Hammers claiming a 3-1 victory in Zurich.

The Opposition:

SL Benfica B are widely regarded as having one of the most talented young teams in Europe, under former Portugal International and Newcastle United star Helder Cristovao.

They compete in The LigaPro, where they are sitting 15th in the wake of a sluggish start, after being Promoted as The Portuguese Third Division winners during the 2005/2006 season, before dissolving for six years and re-emerging in 2012.

However, they are ineligible to be Promoted from The League due to Benfica’s Senior Team competing in The Primeira Liga, they are two-time Champions League winners, and widely considered second to Porto in terms of the most successful Portuguese clubs.

Notable stars to have turned out Benfica’s famous Academy System include Bayern Munich man Renato Sanches, currently on loan at Swansea City, Manchester city man Bernardo Silva and Chelsea defender David Luiz, to name a few.

So, now that the Billericay scene has well and truly been set for tonight’s historic affair, can the young Hammers end their disappointing Premier League International Cup campaign in a blaze of glory?

Or, will The Young Eagles steal an expected away victory to get their season back on track and boost their hopes of European progression? Head over to @MooreThanAClub to get your last-minute score predictions in.

About the Author

Luke Glanville
Lead Writer and Site Manager of MTJAC, Sub-Editor for the Falbros Media Group.