standing in the way of Olympique Lyonnais for the Europa League quarterfinalsthe English club of West Ham advances sure of its strength. sixth in the Premier League, the Hammers are building momentum from last year when they also finished in sixth place. Confidently, the London line-up is also in quite an interesting dynamic with 3 wins and 2 losses in the last 5 Premier League matches and at the same time beating Sevilla to reach the quarter-finals. In the continuity of a project initiated at the time by Manuel Pellegrini, but which had not given the expected results, David Moyes found in the 4-2-3-1 or the 3-4-3 two effective formulas that continued to develop.
A defense with some flaws, but with an exceptional double pivot
This West Ham line-up has two solid goalkeepers in Lukasz Fabianski (36) and Alphonse Aréola (29). The first is a starter in the League while the French compete in Cups. He will also be the one who will normally be in goal against Lyonnais. Opposite him, Kurt Zouma, recruited this summer for €35m, quickly established himself as a no-brainer and, despite a difficult period for the ‘cat thing’, remains efficient. Angelo Ogbonna affected in the cruciate ligaments, Issa Diop and Craig Dawson share the last position in hinge and it is the former Watford who prevailed throughout the season at the expense of the French. With Ben Johnson (who took advantage of Vladimir Coufal’s failings) at right-back and an alternation between Arthur Masuaku and Aaron Cresswell (who can play central in a three-man defence), West Ham display a fixed hierarchy. However, the defensive sector remains perfectible for the current eighth Premier League defense.
On the other hand, West Ham can count on an impressive midfield, so Mark Noble (17 caps, 2 goals) and Alex Kral (6 caps, 1 offer) are content with the crumbs. English phenomenon Declan Rice and the serious Czech Tomáš Souček are the driving force behind the Hammers. Categorized as a very physical team, West Ham cannot find better ambassadors than these two men. Having to oppose them this Thursday, Houssem Aouar is also expecting a fierce fight: “They are used to putting a lot of intensity on the weekends. It is a team prepared for the big European games. We will try to play good football and respond to the level of intensity. Very complementary and full of activity, Declan Rice and Tomáš Souček tirelessly offset each other’s projections and always keep the balance within this West Ham team. It also allows the attackers, whether they are three or four, to have more freedom.
Danger can come from anywhere
In front it is more moved with five players who share the places. Leading the way this season, we find Jarrod Bowen (25), who seems stronger than ever. With 13 goals and 11 deals in 40 games, the English right winger is turning the tables just like his left counterpart Saïd Benrahma. After a first season of adaptation, the Algerian is becoming more consistent and that is also noticeable statistically (9 goals and 6 offerings in 39 games). The Argentine Manuel Lanzini (6 goals and 3 offers in 36 games) and the Spanish Pablo Fornals (6 goals and 4 offers in 43 games) share the last starting position and contribute their part in the creation. This is what Nikola Vlašić was supposed to bring. Arrived from CSKA Moscow for 30 million euros last summer, the Croatian has only one goal and three offerings in 33 games and still cannot find his place. Nothing to worry about in the short term, but he will have to pick himself up or risk seeing the train go by.
Rather a substitute, Andriy Yarmolenko has used the last few weeks to find some color (3 goals and 3 offers in 26 games). Anxious about the Russian invasion of his country, the Ukrainian continues to be efficient and justifies his role as a luxury prankster. Offensive weapons with which Olympique Lyonnais will have to take care, as well as the physical striker Michail Antonio (10 goals and 10 offers in 37 games). Not the best, the now Jamaican international is nonetheless useful in West Ham’s game. Combining great technical qualities in midfield and in support of the striker, West Ham also boast a physically solid squad that Houssem Aouar is concerned about. “It is a very athletic team, with a lot of intensity, but also with a lot of technical success. We will continue to work well to be able to counter them well. Do they look like us? It’s possible. They may be more athletic than us, but it’s up to us to respond like we know how to in the Europa League.He explained at a press conference. Tonight (meeting to follow in our direct commented), Olympique Lyonnais are having a real test at the London Stadium and will need to get up to speed quickly to the physical challenge posed by West Ham or risk being crushed by the London mallet.