Stopper seeking to extend unbeaten record

  • by Staff Writer
  • Thursday, 25th November 2021

Alphonse Areola says is looking forward to pulling on the goalkeeper's jersey once again when West Ham face Rapid Vienna in their third and final away fixture in this year's Europa League group phase.

The on-loan stopper will stand in for regular number one Lukasz Fabianski once again, with the former Polish international having been left at home along with striker Michail Antonio as West Ham prepare to face their opponents in a behind-closed-doors affair, with Austria having entered a national lockdown period.

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“The manager has given opportunities to the players who haven’t played that much and we are here for that, to help the team to try to reach our objectives," Areola told “We just enjoy playing when we have the opportunity and we are here for that.

“I'm working hard every day trying to help the team, with the opportunities I get. I just have to play well. Every European game is really good to play in and it’s a nice experience for the players as well.

“It’s been a good atmosphere every time I’ve played. It’s a bit of a shame that we will not have fans on Thursday, but we will have to deal with that. We heard a lot about the crowd and atmosphere here, but we’ll play the game and enjoy the game as much as we can.”

Meanwhile Areola - who is set to make his sixth appearance for the club since moving to England on a season-long loan from Paris St Germain - praised fellow summer arrival Kurt Zouma, who has become instrumental in West Ham's bid for domestic and European success since also arriving in east London during the summer.

"I've known him for a while," he said.

“We played together in the French youth teams. Even before he signed I knew that he would be a good player for us who would help the team a lot, help the guys to win games and bring a good atmosphere to the group.”

Areola has been something of a lucky charm for the Hammers so far this season, with David Moyes' side yet to taste defeat when he has been in the team.

Although he is yet to make his Premier League debut, so far Areola has kept four clean sheets including wins against the two Manchester clubs, while conceding goals in just one game - the 2-2 draw against Genk in West Ham's most recent Europa League outing.

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Areola's super six

Europa League appearances

30 Sep: West Ham Utd 2-0 Rapid Vienna
21 Oct: West Ham Utd 3-0 KRC Genk
4 Nov: KRC Genk 2-2 West Ham Utd
25 Nov: Rapid Vienna v West Ham Utd

Carabao Cup appearances

22 Sep: Manchester Utd 0-1 West Ham Utd
27 Oct: West Ham Utd 0-0 Manchester City (West Ham win 5-3 on pens)

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