Sevilla v West Ham
These two sides are enjoying excellent campaigns. West Ham are still hanging on in the race for fourth spot domestically despite dropping points in recent weeks, while Sevilla only trail Real Madrid and hold a seven-point advantage over both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, even if the Catalans do possess a game in hand.
The Hammers found the group stages easy going as the squared off with Dinamo Zagreb, Rapid Vienna and Genk, though their current form does have to be a concern. They’ve only won twice across their past nine matches over 90 minutes, as they were nearly humiliated by Kidderminster Harriers in the FA Cup during this time, and come into this fixture off back-to-back defeats away to Southampton and Liverpool.
In fact, away from home, West Ham are just W3-D4-L7 since the start of November, invariably suffering defeats against the better sides. All seven of those losses were inflicted by current top-half outfits – Wolves, Man City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Man Utd, Southampton and Liverpool.
Sevilla have only lost once in nine, though they did draw over half of these games. However, each of their past four defeats have come on the road, whereas they’re W12-D4-L1 on home turf this season, including a current run of seven wins from nine unbeaten games.
The hosts do have a number of concerns ahead of this clash and particularly in attack. Anthony Martial has a good record against the Hammers but is a doubt here, while Erik Lamela, Suso and Papu Gomez are also potentially unavailable. The Hammers aren’t without their own issues though, with defenders Angelo Ogbonna and Vladimir Coufal sidelined, while Jarod Bowen is a doubt after suffering a knock against Liverpool.
SEVILLA TO WIN
Rangers v Crvena Zvezda
Rangers have done well to reach this stage as they overcame Dortmund in the last round across a pair of thrilling encounters. Of Course, the German outfit are often involved in ridiculously high-scoring affairs, whereas the Gers have reverted to type in their last two outings, narrowly downing St. Johnstone and Aberdeen both by 1-0 scorelines.
Rangers have still only suffered the single defeat under Giovanni van Bronckhorst (W16-D6-L1), a 3-0 derby defeat away at Celtic, as they’re currently enjoying a run of nine unbeaten games where they’ve won on six occasions. They’re also now unbeaten in six in Europe, with their home games seeing them beat both Brondby and Sparta Prague by 2-0 scorelines, as well as taking a 2-2 draw in their second leg against Dortmund.
Home form should certainly count for something here, especially given the Scottish outfit can expect a fairly hostile environment in the return leg in Belgrade. However, the Gers are unbeaten in 19 matches at Ibrox alone, including 11 wins from 13 games under current management as they registered clean sheets in each victory.
Crvena Zvezda also arrive in hot form, winning 13 of 16 unbeaten matches since early November. However, their away form in Europe reveals a different picture, as they’re just W4-D10-L10 from their past 24 continental trips. 11 of the last 13 of these featured fewer than three goals, and given Rangers’ previous eight European games prior to facing Dortmund had also gone under that threshold, a fairly tight encounter should be expected this time around.
RANGERS TO WIN AND UNDER 2.5 GOALS
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