West Ham face a season-defining showdown on Thursday night as they take on Europa League specialists Sevilla in the second leg of their last-16 tie, looking to overturn a one-goal deficit (8pm kick-off, UK time).
David Moyes’ men battled valiantly at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan last week, but they ultimately came away 1-0 down on aggregate after Munir broke the deadlock with a well-engineered strike on the hour mark. The Hammers now welcome Julen Lopetegui’s men to E20 hoping to fare slightly better and produce a memorable night at the still-infant London Stadium in the arena’s debut European season.
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West Ham team news vs Sevilla: Antonio a major doubt
Moyes got the job done on Sunday afternoon as West Ham put Aston Villa to the sword in a 2-1 victory, but it came at a price as both Michail Antonio and Aaron Cresswell came off injured. The duo are now both considered major doubts, though there are murmurs the latter could feature. They look set to join Vladimir Coufal (groin), Angelo Ogbonna (knee) and Jarrod Bowen (foot) on the treatment tables, while Nikola Vlasic faces a late fitness test after missing the Villa match at the weekend with a knock.
One player who will be looking to influence proceedings and certainly knows a thing or two about getting the better of Sevilla is Tomas Soucek, who was part of Slavia Prague’s memorable route to the Europa League quarter finals in 2018/19, in which they knocked out the Andalusians at this exact stage of the competition.
“I’m really looking forward to the game,” Soucek told West Ham TV. “I know I want to beat Sevilla.
“We managed to beat them three years ago in extra time in the same round, when I was with Slavia Prague, and I hope it happens again on Thursday because it is a huge opportunity.
“But we need to score and I hope, on Thursday, in front of a full stadium, we show our quality and make the most of the opportunity. I was close on Sunday but we finally won the game [2-1 against Aston Villa in the Premier League]. I didn’t need to score in the end but hopefully I’ve saved it for Thursday’s game.”
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Predicted West Ham XI vs Sevilla:
- Areola; Fredericks, Dawson, Zouma, Johnson; Soucek, Rice Lanzini; Fornals, Benrahma, Yarmolenko. (4-3-3)
Sevilla team news vs West Ham: Acuna a doubt
Marcos Acuna, who assisted Munir’s goal in the first leg, came off injured at the weekend against Rayo Vallecano and is now a doubt for Thursday’s trip. Suso, Karim Rekik, Diego Carlos, Gonzalo Montiel, Papu Gomez and Fernando are all also expected to sit on the sidelines once again. Thomas Delaney returns from suspension though, but as one comes in, another goes out, as Lucas Ocampos is now banned for yellow card accumulation.
Predicted Sevilla XI vs West Ham:
- Bono; Navas; Kounde, Gudelj, Augustinsson; Oliver, Jordan, Corona, Munir, Martial; En-Nesyri. (4-2-3-1)