9 mins: A shot! From a Lyon player – about 30 yards out, instantly blocked. But they are warming up, and they play their first threatening cross, whipped in from the left, well defended by West Ham.
8 mins: You know how some matches set off at a thunderous pace? This is not one of them.
7 mins: Lyon make it into the box, with Dembele holding the ball up well, Lukaku-style, but again the final ball is poor.
5 min: Gusto, Lyon’s pacey right-winger, has plenty of time to get a cross in, but he overcooks it.
3 mins: Lyon are being leisurely, West Ham more direct. Antonio gets his head on a punt from Areola but can’t quite find Bowen with his flick-on.
1 min: Lyon get the party started with some neat little passes.
Declan Rice bumps fists with the Lyon captain – Moussa Dembele. Rice needs to avoid a yellow if he wants to play in the second leg.
West Ham have won their last four at home in all competitions, their best such sequence for ten years. But then Lyon have won their last six away matches in the Europa League. Something’s gotta give.
The crowd are absolutely loving it. The London Stadium is rocking as it hasn’t rocked since the Rolling Stones played there a few years ago.
Bubbles are being blown. And sung.
David Moyes is talking to BT, sounding calm. “Slightly different game,” he says, “It’s the first leg. We’d like to win, but it’s not settled tonight.”
He says he picked Ryan Fredericks (over Ben Johnson) partly because of the pace of Karl Toko-Ekambi – who, as he doesn’t add, is on the bench.
Lyon (4-2-3-1?): lopes; Gusto, Boateng, Lukeba, Emerson; Mendes, Ndombele; Faivre, Paqueta, Aouar; Dembele.
Subs: Pollersbeck, Da Silva, Denayer, Barcola, Henrique, Dubois, Reine-Adelaide, Barcola, Kadewere, Tete, Toko-Ekambi.
West Ham United (4-2-3-1): Areola; Fredericks, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice; Bowen, Benrahma, Fornals; Antonio.
Subs: Fabianski, Johnson, Coufal, Masuaku, Diop, Alese, Noble, Kral, Perkins, Randolph, Vlasic, Yarmolenko.
Evening everyone and welcome to West Ham’s biggest European game since … well, I make it 1981. That one didn’t go too well: after storming into the quarter-finals of the Cup-Winners’ Cup, they went and lost 4 -1 at home to Dinamo Tbilisi. But that was then, so long ago that one of their regulars was Frank Lampard (Senior). And this is now, when they’ve just seen off Sevilla, who pretty much own the Europa League.
Manchester United, eat your heart out. David Moyes is not only looking down on United in the league table: he’s still in Europe and they’re not. But he won’t be allowing himself much of a gloat because his team faced a tricky assignment here. At 538.com, Nate Silver’s prediction machine, West Ham are favored to make it through this round, but only by 55 per cent to 45.
Lyon waltzed through their group, winning five games and losing none. Last time they came to the UK, in September, they beat the mighty Rangers. They’re erratic in Ligue 1, where they lie ninth, but efficient in the Europa: in the last round, against Porto, they won 1-0 away before drawing 1-1 at home. It could be the loudest night at the London Stadium since the win over Sevilla.
Kick-off is at 8pm, so I’ll be back soon after 7 with the teams.