Lyon vs West Ham United: Preview and Prediction
West Ham United has a tough task to invade Olympique Lyon‘s fortress and advance to the semifinal round of the 2021-22 UEFA Europa League. As the French guardians are having preparations to host the English visitors in an ultimate battle to grab the tickets to the penultimate stage on Friday.
Eintracht Frankfurt and Lyon are the only undefeated clubs as they haven’t lost a single game from nine fixtures of the 2021-22 UEFA Europa League. They have registered six wins and three draws till now and are eying to touch the double-digit unbeaten run.
West Ham United showed commendable survival instincts in the previous face-off but somehow lacked a proper Plan B to tackle such a crisis.
In their previous fixture, Lyon forced the fourth-placed Strasbourg side to drop the points on their home turf. As Les Gones held the Alsace-based club on 1-1 after a 90th-minute equaliser from the Cameroonian forward, Karl Toko Ekambi. It was an eye-opener for the Lyon gaffer Peter Bosz before the judgement clash.
West Ham United lost the golden opportunity to go ahead of Manchester United in the Premier League standings. Their plans were slaughtered by the Bees of Brentford who registered a 2-0 triumph over their London counterparts. It was a forgettable night for the visiting side at Brentford Community Stadium as the loopholes lying within the Hammers roster were hugely exploited by Thomas Frank and his boys.
Head to Head Record
The first leg at the London Stadium concluded on a 1-1 scoreline as both teams are yet to register their maiden victory against each other. The Hammers kept themselves in an equal position to Lyon despite getting dominated by their counterparts. The French Lions kept 78% of possession with a whopping statistics of 700+ passes and 20 shots while the number’s game was also favouring them due to Aaron Cresswell’s red card suspension.
Julian Pollersbeck who replaced Anthony Lopes in the 30th minute of the Strasbourg encounter is likely to get the nod in the starting eleven as well. As the Portuguese first-choice shot-stopper’s availability for this fixture is under doubt. Maxence Caqueret’s awaited comeback is once again postponed as the French midfielder misses yet another crucial encounter.
Manuel Lanzini’s comeback from the suspension boosts the strength of the Hammers’ offense which was seen as clueless at times in his absence. While addressing the media about Kurt Zouma’s injury, David Moyes described it as a serious concern and also seemed unsure about the French centre-back’s availability.
Moussa Dembele: He turned up for the first leg after scoring a brace against Angers SCO in the Ligue 1 matchday. Dembele could not continue the purple patch of making a goal contribution of eight in eight matches which was followed by a forgettable outcome in two consecutive games. The OL fans are comparing his current form to the wounded lion in the hope to witness his grand comeback for the Whites.
Declan Rice: Declan is the name on everyone’s tongue as he is considered a hot commodity in the transfer market. All big clubs around Europe are racing for the signature of the 23-year-old England international. The young holding midfielder operates as an engine of the Hammers and also plays a pivotal role during defense to attack transitions.
Predicted Starting XIs
Olympique Lyonnais (4-2-3-1): Julian Pollersbeck; Malo Gusto, Jerome Boateng, Castello Lukeba, Emerson; Houssem Aouar, Tanguy Ndombele; Romain Faivre, Lucas Paquetá, Karl Toko-Ekambi; Moussa Dembele
West Ham United (4-2-3-1): Alphonse Areola; Vladimir Coufal, Craig Dawson, Issa Diop, Arthur Masuaku; Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek; Jarrod Bowen, Manuel Lanzini, Pablo Fornals; Michail Antonio
Lyon thoroughly dominated the West Ham United side although the scoreline still remained equal at the end of the first leg. It allows the London-based club to have a quick reboot as their chances of advancing are still bright enough. But it won’t be easy for them to execute the planned things as the French Lions will once again deploy a full-fledged attack on them.