Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek produced a midfield masterclass as West Ham beat Sevilla 2-1 on aggregate to reach the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals.
West Ham United booked their place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League, thanks to a 2-0 victory over Sevilla at London Stadium this midweek. The win helped them overturn the 1-0 deficit they had incurred in the first leg and advance through to the next round – a historic achievement for the club.
Despite coming on the back of a slender advantage, Sevilla were on the ropes throughout the game. They were overwhelmed by the pressure from the West Ham attack. Cheered on by the home supporters, the Hammers were by far the better of the two teams, as they created a plethora of chances going forward and were winning back possession at ease.
West Ham were rewarded for their brisk start with a goal just before half-time, as Tomas Soucek headed home from Michail Antonio’s cross. The advantage sent Sevilla on the back foot again, with Los Nervionenses soaking up further pressure in the second half.
Sevilla ultimately did well to deny the hosts from finding another during the second 45 minutes. But as the game headed to extra time, the visitors simply could not withstand the pressure and were ultimately beaten in the 112th minute, with substitute Andriy Yarmolenko scoring from a rebound.
It was enough to seal the win for David Moyes’ men, and here at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the West Ham players in their historic triumph over Sevilla this midweek.
Alphonse Areola: 8/10
Alphonse Areola made an outstanding save to deny Sevilla the opener in the first half. It was a turning point in the game, one that might have saved West Ham’s day. Aside from the save, the goalkeeper looked in top shape, exuding confidence with his decision making in between the sticks—a deserved clean sheet.
THIS SAVE BY AREOLA pic.twitter.com/MQFNJcbTzq
— DeclanJollofRice (@WHU_Zoubonner) March 17, 2022
Ben Johnson: 7.5/10
After an impressive performance in the first leg, Ben Johnson produced another bright display at right-back. He was overwhelmed at times when defending the Sevilla wide players, but he never lost his marker. The defender also offered width going forward, rounding up an excellent shift.
Craig Dawson: 8/10
Craig Dawson was another West Ham defender that impressed on the night. He was rock solid at the back, particularly with his ability to thrive in the air and physical duels.
Kurt Zouma: 8/10
While Dawson was taking care of most physical duels, Kurt Zouma’s ability on the ball offered variety to the West Ham backline, effectively allowing them to play out from the back. Even defensively, the Frenchman looked rock solid in defence, barely allowing any space for Youssef En-Nesyri and the other attackers.
Aaron Cresswell: 7/10
Aaron Cresswell produced an improved display at left-back. He offered decent attacking support going forward while taking care of the Sevilla attacks defensively. It was a tidy effort that helped West Ham keep a valuable clean sheet.
Declan Rice: 9/10
Declan Rice was the beating heart of this West Ham side. If his defensive astuteness in the number six role wasn’t enough, the Englishman inspired his teammates with his driving runs into the final third. He beat players rather easily, and his presence enough made it almost impossible for Sevilla to control the proceedings.
Declan Rice over the both games in this tie has been phenomenal. So, so good…
— TC (@totalcristiano) March 17, 2022
Tomas Soucek: 9/10
Tomas Soucek was another West Ham midfielder who played a massive role in this victory. The Czech international is a true leader. His ability to make darting runs forward, coupled with his proficiency from headers, made him a threat for the Sevilla defence. Sure enough, the midfielder bagged the all-important opener in the first half and was close to netting a winner late in the game.
Manuel Lanzini: 7.5/10
Manuel Lanzini looked vulnerable in possession at times, but he worked hard for his team. He was always an outlet in the final third, even though the playmaker wasn’t able to offer his usual brilliance.
Pablo Fornals: 7.5/10
Pablo Fornals produced a hard-working display in the final third. He tried his best to make things happen in the final third and was always a reliable attacking outlet going forward.
Michail Antonio: 8/10
Michail Antonio’s return to fitness was always going to be a major boost for West Ham. So it was hardly a surprise why the Jamaican dominated the game, using his physical prowess to good effect, especially when holding the ball up and allowing teammates space to run into. He notably assisted Soucek for the opener and made a nuisance of himself throughout the game.
"This season… It's like a dream come true." ✨
"The only atmosphere close to this was the last day at the Boleyn Ground."
Simply put, West Ham's Michail Antonio is having the time of his life! ⚒️
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 17, 2022
Said Benrahma: 7.5/10
Said Benrahma was one of the most in-form players for West Ham heading into this affair. The attacker didn’t disappoint either, offering creativity and dynamism in the final third. His clever pass to Antonio in the first half was a particular eye-catcher.
Andriy Yarmolenko: 7/10
Andriy Yarmolenko was brought on late in the game in order to add more energy to the West Ham attack during the extra time. His fresh legs caused problems for the Sevilla defence, with the Ukrainian being in the right place at the right time to bag the winner.
Mark Noble: N/A
A late replacement for Lanzini. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Issa Diop: N/A
A late replacement for Fornals. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Ryan Fredericks: N/A
A late replacement for Antonio. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.