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From Aaron Cresswell‘s controversial red card, Moussa Dembele‘s Cristiano Ronaldo-esque wink and a pitch invader inexplicably running onto the field when the hosts were on the attack, West Ham and Lyon’s first leg of their quarter-final certainly did not disappoint.
Despite losing Cresswell to an early bath just before the half-time whistle blew, the 10 men of West Ham managed to strike first through Jarrod Bowen – back from injury with a bang – but Tottenham Hotspur loanee Tanguy Ndombele finished from close range to restore parity for Les Gones.
Peter Bosz‘s side head into the second leg having just played out another two-goal stalemate in Ligue 1 with surprise package Strasbourg, but that result certainly came at a cost, with no fewer than three integral players being forced off injured at the Stade de la Meinau.
Still waiting for their first taste of success in the Europa League in its current format, Lyon’s spot in a semi-final for the first time since 2016-17 is far from guaranteed, but they at least come into the second leg on the back of a five-game unbeaten run, with four of them ending in draws.
Only one of Lyon’s last six games across all competitions has ended in victory, but they are one of only two sides who began the Europa League in the group stage yet to lose in this season’s tournament – the other being Eintracht Frankfurt – and West Ham are not too high on confidence themselves.
Lyon’s first-choice goalkeeper Anthony Lopes was taken off on the half-hour mark against Strasbourg at the weekend, while midfielders Ndombele and Houssem Aouar were casualties of thigh and knee issues later on in the contest but are in the squad.
Bosz’s midfield dilemma is not helped by Maxence Caqueret‘s knee injury and a knock for Thiago Mendes, while Lucas Paqueta, Rayan Cherki, Lenny Pintor and Sinaly Diomande are all out of contention as well.
A lack of options in the engine room could see former Arsenal man Jeff Reine-Adelaide handed a rare opportunity to impress, and Bosz may even consider moving to a back five given his plethora of options at centre-back.
While West Ham are dealing with a lack of midfield options, Moyes must rethink his defensive options, with Cresswell serving his European suspension and Kurt Zouma suffering an ankle injury in the Brentford loss.
Zouma is confirmed to be missing out this week, so Issa Diop is on standby, while Angelo Ogbonna continues to recover from knee surgery and Mark Noble will hope to recover from illness in time for Thursday. Manuel Lanzini is also back from a ban served in the first leg.
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Arthur Masuaku‘s inclusion at left-back will be enforced, but Ryan Fredericks will hope to come into contention to replace Ben Johnson at right-back after playing the full 90 last week, and Said Benrahma is holding out for another chance in attack after being sacrificed for Johnson in the first leg.
Lyon possible starting lineup:
Pollersbeck; Gusto, Lukeba, Boateng, Emerson; Ndombele, Mendes; Faivre, Reine-Adelaide, Toko Ekambi; Dembele
West Ham United possible starting lineup:
Areola; Johnson, Dawson, Diop, Masuaku; Rice, Soucek; Bowen, Fornals, Benrahma; Antonio