West HamEuropa LeagueVS
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We didn’t expect there to be much between these two when the Europa League draw was made and their quarter-final tie is perfectly poised after a 1-1 draw in London last week.
The Hammers went down to ten men in the first half after Aaron Cresswell was shown a straight red card for bringing Moussa Dembele down when the Frenchman got in behind the home defence.
But the hosts defied their numerical disadvantage as Jarrod Bowen bagged the opener, although Lyon had the final say as on-loan Tanguy Ndombele bundled home the equaliser to draw the sides level heading into the second leg.
Continue reading for our full match preview and expert football betting tips.
It’s very difficult to split these two, but with home advantage being so crucial in these games, plus the abolition of the away goals rule, we’re just siding with Lyon here.
Prior to West Ham’s Premier League trip to Brentford, their away form has been poor, losing four on the bounce and not at all since a New Year’s Day victory at Crystal Palace.
Their defensive record on the road is also an issue. David Moyes’ side haven’t kept a clean sheet away from home since a stalemate at Burnley eleven games ago, and even at home they’re struggling to keep the goals out.
And while Lyon are no world beaters, their home form has been excellent this season, with just three defeats in 20 games on their own patch. They’re unbeaten at home in the Europa League this campaign, which has included the visits of fellow quarter-finalists Rangers and former Champions League winners Porto.
There could be a few goals in this one, but with Lyon better than even-money with most major sports betting sites at odds of 21/20 (Betway), we think they represent decent value here.
With eight games to go in Ligue 1, Lyon sit nine points off the major European places, so a Europa League success this season is probably their most viable route into the Champions League next year.
They will be disappointed, however, that they were unable to convert their one-man advantage into a first-leg lead. The manner in which they went behind was unfortunate, with Jerome Boateng deflecting Bowen’s strike over the goalkeeper and in, but Lyon dominated possession for large periods without really cutting the hosts open too much,
But they’ll be banking on a solid home record to see them through, and while some of their classy operators have somewhat underperformed this season, they should be fired up for what is their biggest game of the season.
Good news for manager Peter Bosz is that he has no fresh injury or suspension concerns.
It’s a pivotal moment in West Ham’s season.
At the time of writing, the Hammers sit sixth in the Premier League table, with European qualification very much in their hands, while in the Europa League, they’re just 90 minutes away from a semi-final showdown with Barcelona.
But they know they’re in a game here and their away form has been extremely patchy since the turn of the year. That said, despite losing away at Sevilla in the previous round, they had more than their fair share of chances, so they’ll still be confident of getting through to the last four, despite our outlook for them.
Cresswell’s red card means he will miss the second leg in France, while Manuel Lanzini and Angelo Ogbonna are also out.
Last week’s first leg was the first ever meeting between the two sides, so, naturally, this will be the second. Obviously.
The Groupama Stadium may sound like a fun, flamboyant name, but sadly it’s a corporate sponsorship title for a ground that hosts the best part of 60,000 fans.
The stadium hosted six matches during Euro 2020, including Portugal’s 2-0 victory over Wales in the semi-finals, while there’s plans for the city to host five matches at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
These are two very well-matched sides, so it’s important not to read too much into Lyon’s disappointing league campaign as a barometer for their chances here.
They showed in the first leg that they have the technical edge when it comes to keeping the ball, and we think that could be the difference-maker against a West Ham side that plays a lot of minutes and doesn’t tend to deal too much in the art of squad rotation.
All things considered, Lyon’s home form gives them the nod from the Betting.com team here, but this is almost certainly the tie of the round in the Europa League.