West Ham United head into the second leg of their Europa League last-16 tie with Sevilla facing a 1-0 deficit on aggregate.
Ahead of Thursday’s game at the London Stadium, the Hammers sit in sixth position in the Premier League, while Sevilla are second in La Liga
When Nikola Vlasic somehow failed to convert a close-range header during the early stages of last week’s game at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, many West Ham supporters would have felt that they would be left to rue that missed opportunity.
That fear materialised after the break as Munir El Haddadi scored the only goal of the game, handing Sevilla the advantage ahead of the reverse fixture in England.
After the game, David Moyes spoke of his optimism regarding getting on the scoresheet in the second leg, a belief which was strengthened by West Ham returning to winning ways three days later.
Late goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Pablo Fornals secured a timely 2-1 victory over Aston Villa, ending a run of three successive defeats in all competitions.
The Hammers are now unbeaten in their last four fixtures in East London, their last setback coming back on January 16 when they went down in a five-goal thriller to Leeds United.
Given the chances that West Ham squandered in the first leg, Julen Lopetegui will be delighted that Sevilla make the journey to the Premier League outfit with a narrow lead.
Sevilla have been far from impressive since the middle of January, their four wins from 12 matches in all competitions being recorded on home territory.
Four draws from six league fixtures, the latest coming at Rayo Vallecano on Sunday, have left Los Nervionenses 10 points adrift of La Liga leaders Real Madrid.
While just five goals have been scored in six outings in all competitions, Moyes and his attacking players will take note that only four goals have been conceded during the same period.
Sevilla have not lost in England since suffering a 2-0 defeat against Leicester City in the last 16 of the Champions League almost five years to the day of Thursday’s contest.
West Ham United Europa League form:
West Ham United form (all competitions):
Sevilla Europa League form:
Sevilla form (all competitions):
We say: West Ham United 1-1 Sevilla (Sevilla to win 2-1 on aggregate)
While Moyes has talked up the chances of West Ham scoring on Thursday, it may prove far easier said than done. In what we expect to be a tight game, Sevilla could edge through courtesy of earning a draw in London, possibly making things increasingly difficult for their opponents with a goal in the first half.