Preview: Sevilla vs. West Ham United

Preview: Sevilla vs. West Ham United

West Ham United return to Europa League action on Thursday evening for the first leg of their last-16 tie with Sevilla.

While the Hammers make the trip to Estadio Ramon Sánchez Pizjuan sitting in sixth position in the Premier League standings, the Spanish giants are second in La Liga.

With three months having passed since their last fixture in this competition, West Ham supporters can be forgiven for forgetting about the Europa League, but that will certainly not be the case now as they prepare for one of their most prestigious fixtures in their history.

A two-legged tie with Barcelona would have whetted the appetite more so than a double-header with Sevilla, although that was not the opinion of David Moyes who feels that his team have been provided with the toughest test possible.

That particularly rings true when taking into consideration that West Ham have won just one of their last five fixtures in all competitions, with successive defeats being recorded at Southampton and Liverpool respectively.

Although the London outfit gave a good account of themselves at Anfield, it was a result which leaves them as outsiders for the Premier League top four, perhaps resulting in Moyes placing more priority on winning this tournament.

West Ham topped a group involving Dinamo Zagreb, Genk and Rapid Vienna to reach this stage of the competition, collecting 13 points from their six fixtures.

Sevilla have one of those opponents in common with West Ham having recently come through a tie with Dinamo Zagreb, losing the second leg in Croatia to only prevail 3-2 on aggregate.

Julen Lopetegui was left relieved that Los Nervionenses did just enough to progress further in a competition which they have won six times since 2005-06.

Despite occupying second spot in La Liga, trailing leaders Real Madrid by eight points, Sevilla have won just three of their last 10 matches in all competitions.

Friday’s stalemate at Alaves was their fourth league draw in six games, although a clean sheet ensured that they remain with the best defensive record in Spain.

Sevilla have not suffered defeat at Estadio Ramon Sánchez Pizjuan since losing to Lille in the Champions League back on November 2.

Sevilla Europa League form:
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Sevilla form (all competitions):
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West Ham United Europa League form:
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West Ham United form (all competitions):
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We say: Sevilla 2-1 West Ham United
Despite the contrasting European experience of the two teams, this makes for an intriguing clash. West Ham will fancy their chances of collecting at least a draw ahead of the second leg in London, but we are backing Sevilla’s extra cohesion and quality to prove decisive in claiming a narrow win.

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