Olympique Lyonnais Match Preview
West Ham United started their first ever UEFA Europa League campaign back in September with an away win over Group H top seeds GNK Dinamo Zagreb. They then followed that up by producing an even bigger shock when they overturned a one goal first-leg deficit to knock out six-time winners Sevilla to progress to the quarter-final stage.
Now, the Hammers will hope to give their fans another night to remember whilst also trying to grab an advantage to take to France next week when Olympique Lyonnais come to Stratford for the first-leg tonight.
Unlike Sevilla who automatically took their place in this competition by virtue of finishing third in their UEFA Champions League group, the Ligue 1 side are unbeaten in Europe this season so the Irons might be in for another tough test here. On the other hand, they have only lost two games on their way to this stage and after what happened against the La Liga side, it would take a brave soul to put it past them causing another surprise!!!
Both sides go into this game off the back of domestic victories on Sunday, meaning that neither has an advantage in terms of preparation.
This tie may well have similarities to the last round against Sevilla in that these two teams have never met competitively before and you now know that the East Londoners have history when it comes to ending long unbeaten runs!!!
Manuel Lanzini missed the victory over Everton four days ago and David Moyes will have to do without the Argentine once more as he is suspended for this encounter.
Ben Johnson wasn’t involved against the Toffees either as he was recovering from a minor injury but the Hammers’ boss will hope to have the defender back in contention here. If he doesn’t make it however, then there could be a start for Vladimír Coufal after being named as a substitute at the weekend. Otherwise Ryan Fredericks will retain his place.
Mark Noble was introduced from the bench against Frank Lampard’s side and, as he has done throughout this European adventure, he may be in line to make the starting line-up.
If the Scotsman decides to make further changes with another crucial Premier League game away at newly-promoted Brentford on Sunday in mind, then Nikola Vlašić could come into the starting line-up, while Arthur Masuaku, Issa Diop and Alex Král will also be under consideration.
After playing a key part in helping his team to this stage, Andriy Yarmolenko may be handed a rare start, while Alphonse Areola is set to once again take the goalkeeping gloves ahead of Łukasz Fabiański.
The match kicks off at 8pm and live coverage is being screened by BT Sport from 7:15pm. The referee is Felix Zwayer.