David Moyes will make two big West Ham changes for the Europa League clash with Sevilla but is uncertain on a third.
The big day has finally arrived for West Ham with just hours until kick-off.
Nearly four months since sealing a place in the last 16 of the Europa League, West Ham have travelled to Seville to take on the second best team in Spain.
It is quite simply West Ham’s biggest match in decades and the excitement is palpable ahead of today’s first leg.
West Ham have thoroughly embraced and enjoyed their European adventure this season.
After topping Group H, the east Londoners qualified directly for the last 16 and are now just three ties from a dream final in Seville.
But they will get an early taste of playing at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán after being handed arguably the toughest of the last 16 draws.
Heading into the game the form of both sides has stuttered of late.
West Ham played very well in the excruciating 1-0 defeat to Premier League title hopefuls Liverpool last time out.
Meanwhile Sevilla saw their own title hopes dashed when they were held to a 0-0 draw by relegation-threatened Alaves.
Managers David Moyes and Julen Lopetegui both have injury concerns too.
In-form Jarrod Bowen is out but thankfully Declan Rice looks set to play after training with the team before flying out to Seville.
Sevilla could be without as many as seven first team players for the game including suspended midfield ace Thomas Delaney.
Moyes has said he will play West Ham’s strongest XI in every possible game between now and the end of the season.
Predicted: David Moyes makes two big West Ham changes for Sevilla but uncertain on a third
As a result Moyes looks set to make two big West Ham changes for Sevilla but the Scot will be uncertain on a third.
Declan Rice is the most obvious change and he will come back into the side in place of Nikola Vlasic, who surprisingly started at Anfield.
With Bowen out, it looks to be between Said Benrahma and Vlasic as to who replaces him.
If Bowen’s on fire then both Benrahma and Vlasic are in the freezer. Neither has done anything to impress when they have played of late.
But West Ham seriously need them to step up now.
Benrahma has been snubbed by Moyes since the pair clashed after the Algerian was substituted in the 1-1 home draw against Newcastle.
The playmaker offers more attacking threat than Vlasic and given his fine form in Europe this season – with three goals from three appearances – as well as his superior record in the Premier League – with five goals and four assists in 20 starts – Benrahma seems to be the sensible choice.
As a result Benrahma in for Bowen will be the second change for West Ham against Sevilla.
But Moyes could throw a curveball after Mark Noble’s impressive second half display at Liverpool. He may come in alongside Tomas Soucek and Rice in place of Vlasic to provide a more compact midfield.
Moyes then faces something of a dilemma over a third change.
Alphonse Areola has – on the whole – been West Ham’s goalkeeper for cup matches this season after signing on loan from PSG.
Moyes has made it clear that Lukasz Fabianski is his number one.
And it could be telling that Fabianski actually started West Ham’s crucial opening Europa League game away at Dinamo Zagreb.
A 2-0 win there took the pressure off West Ham’s other Europa League group games as Areola came in for those.
Both goalkeepers are vastly experienced.
But Moyes must make a big decision on whether to bring Areola in as a third change or stick with Fabianski – who some fans blamed for the goal West Ham conceded against Liverpool.
Predicted West Ham starting XI to face Sevilla:
Fabianski, Johnson, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell, Rice, Soucek, Fornals, Lanzini, Benrahma, Antonio.