Moussa Dembele was a little winker in the Europa League quarter-final last night but West Ham will beat Lyon with Manuel Lanzini.

Diving Dembele cheated the Hammers when he fell to the floor after the slightest touch on the arm from Aaron Cresswell just before half-time at the London Stadium.

Referee Felix Zwayer bought it – despite the linesman directly in the line with the incident not even flagging for a foul.

West Ham United v Olympique Lyon: Quarter Final Leg One - UEFA Europa League
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

To rub salt in the wound alleged former West Ham target Dembele was seen winking at his teammates as the ref gave Cresswell his marching orders.

As one journalist remarked at the time, it was footballing code for “Gotcha”.

Against the odds it was West Ham who opened the scoring after half-time when Jarrod Bowen pounced after good work from the excellent Pablo Fornals.

But Spurs reject Tanguy NDombele equalised after some very poor defending from fullbacks Ben Johnson and Ryan Fredericks.

West Ham United v Olympique Lyon: Quarter Final Leg One - UEFA Europa League
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

At 1-1 it is still all to play for next week in France. And for some perspective all four Europa League quarter-final ties are delicately poised after the first leg with three of them ending 1-1 and the other 1-0.

Dembele may be a little winker but West Ham will beat Lyon with Manuel Lanzini next week.

Lanzini has proved to be one of West Ham’s most crucial players since his renaissance under Moyes.

Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United - Premier League
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And he is vital in the European games where quality in possession is quite simply a must.

Moyes admitted Lyon were particularly impressive in that department.

Lanzini put on an absolute midfield masterclass against Sevilla.

West Ham United v Sevilla FC: Round of 16 Leg Two - UEFA Europa League
Photo by Federico Maranesi/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

So it was no surprise Declan Rice declared it a huge blow that the Argentine was suspended for the Lyon first leg.

But Lanzini will be back next week. And West Ham will have the beating of Lyon with the line-breaking midfield ace in the team.

Lyon can be got at defensively and Lanzini will add that much needed ball retention and incisive vision to get the job done.


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