West Ham’s season arguably hangs in the balance on Thursday night. Having finally broken the top-six glass ceiling last campaign and got themselves into the latter stages of a European competition, David Moyes knows just how important their second-leg showdown against Sevilla is — and they trail 1-0 on aggregate.
It was a frenetic battle at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan last week, with both sides enjoying their moments of final-third activity. Julen Lopetegui’s men ultimately walked away from the final whistle having enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and that all-important goal through Munir’s training-ground strike.
However, Moyes’ men held their own. Nikola Vlasic squandered a gilt-edged chance that looked harder to miss in the first half as his free header went straight at Bono, while he also had a long-ranged effort that whistled past the post. There were also big chances from Tomas Soucek and Michail Antonio.
That will give the Londoners a lot of confidence when the Europa League’s most succesful side ever visit the London Stadium. They may have fired a blank, but they carved Lopetegui’s side open at times. It is set to be a raucous reception in E20, so this tie is very much still alive.
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West Ham vs Sevilla: Match Stats
With Vladimir Coufal currently on the shelf having undergone a hernia operation, Ben Johnson has deputised in his absence and has continued to enhance his burgeoning reputation. The 22-year-old more than held his own last week against the tricky legs of Lucas Ocampos, finishing the match having made more tackles than any other player on the pitch (three). He may not be the most creative going forward, but defensively Johnson is as competent as they come.
The academy defender also faced a buccaneering onslaught from Sevilla’s left-back Maros Acuna, who doubled up with Ocampos. Despite Johnson’s aggressive timing, the Argentine actually finished the match having created the second-most chances of any player on the pitch (five), while it was his well-engineered ball over the top that set up Munir for Sevilla’s deadlock-breaking finish. However, it was Jesus Corona on the opposite flank who created the most chances (six), so expect the tricky Mexican to be dazzling the wide areas once again on Thursday.
10 Mar 2022 – Sevilla 1-0 West Ham – Europa League
Last week’s encounter in Andalusia was a hard-fought battle between two very capable sides. West Ham had their fair share of chances in the first half, but Sevilla ramped it up a level after the restart and grabbed an invaluable goal heading into Thursday’s capital showdown.