Hammers boss David Moyes makes three West Ham changes for Lyon as star surprisingly keeps his place in the side.
That’s what Hammers News predicts ahead of tonight’s Europa League quarter-final second leg decider between West Ham and Lyon.
West Ham will be missing Kurt Zouma through injury and Aaron Cresswell through suspension for the crunch last eight tie.
But Lyon have their own issues after confirming last night the shock late news that star man Lucas Paqueta is out of the game against West Ham as well as goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.
It means West Ham will face Lyon’s number two Julian Pollersbeck – who has played just twice in two years.
Moyes is boosted by the availability of midfield ace Manuel Lanzini, who was suspended for the first leg.
And both Ben Johnson – who has had a tight hamstring – and captain Mark Noble, who missed Brentford with illness, are also available.
Declan Rice is walking a disciplinary tightrope in the game as one more booking means he misses the first leg against either Eintracht Frankfurt or Barcelona should West Ham progress.
That cannot be allowed to hinder Rice’s performance, though. Moyes and his talisman will just have to worry about crossing that bridge if and when it comes to it.
Predicted line-up: David Moyes makes three West Ham changes for Lyon as star surprisingly keeps his place
Four our predicted line-up we believe Moyes makes three West Ham changes for Lyon as one star surprisingly keeps his place.
And that will be Vladimir Coufal at right-back.
Coufal continued his poor performances this season when he made his comeback in the 2-0 defeat at Brentford on Sunday.
The Czech fullback looked very rusty. But Moyes will need all of his experience for this huge match.
So Coufal will stay in the team with Johnson coming back in to replace Cresswell at left-back.
Moyes also then has Ryan Fredericks – and his pace and energy – in reserve should the match go to extra-time.
The second change will be Alphonse Areola coming back into the side to replace number one Lukasz Fabianski.
The French goalkeeper is West Ham’s cup and European stopper and has played all but one of the Hammers’s Europa matches this season.
There has been speculation that Rice will fill in for Zouma at centre-back against Lyon.
But West Ham would lose far too much in midfield if Moyes did that.
So we believe Issa Diop will be given his big chance to shine in what is possibly last chance saloon for the once £75m-rated centre-back at West Ham during this run in.
Predicted West Ham starting XI to face Lyon:
Areola, Coufal, Dawson, Diop, Johnson, Rice, Soucek, Fornals, Lanzini, Bowen, Antonio.