Months ago, the prospect of a game between West Ham and Barcelona sounded like something from a fairytale, but now it is well within our reach.
Our Europa League campaign has been nothing short of thrilling. After finishing at the top of our group, we then saw off Sevilla, who hold the record for the most Europa League titles, having lifted the trophy six times.
Beating Lyon in the quarter-finals will be no easy feat. Up until facing West Ham, they had not lost a single game in the Europa League this season, setting the scene for a fierce battle.
Then, provided we can beat Lyon, we will face the winner of Barcelona v Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-finals.
I spoke to Barcelona fan, Mahmoud Elsayed, to get his take on the potential upcoming fixture.
How has Barcelona’s season gone so far?
‘Barcelona’s season is going a lot better than I expected it to at the beginning of the season, especially with the poor start we had with Ronald Koeman.
‘I’m very happy with the team’s performance and Xavi’s work with the team, even if Barcelona does not win the Europa League.’
Who are the players to watch at Barcelona?
‘There haven’t been any players that have been consistent for us since the beginning of the season. In general, you’d say Pedri, de Jong and DembÃ©lÃ©, but based on their performances since the beginning of 2022, I’d say the ones to watch are Busquets, PiquÃ©, Alba, AraÃºjo and Pedri.’
What is your opinion on West Ham?
‘I know all of the West Ham players from watching Premier League matches, and by the way, I have to thank Bowen for the Fantasy points.
‘The team started the season very well with Moyes but their Premier League form has struggled in the last couple of months, however I still think they have a chance to compete for the Europa League.
‘Many players have improved and are very skilled. I think if West Ham reach the Europa League final or qualify for the Europa League again next season, that would be a great achievement. I hope they can do that.’
How do you feel about the Europa League?
‘Getting knocked out of the Champions League and playing in the Europa League has given us an opportunity for the team to develop more with Xavi.
‘The matches are not as difficult as the Champions League, but it is a great test to see the level of the team.
‘Winning against big teams like Napoli, and West Ham if we get the chance, gives the team more confidence that it is heading in the right direction.’
What would you expect the result of West Ham v Barcelona to be?
‘Based on the performances of the two teams, I expect Barcelona to win. I think we will win both matches, but I will be surprised if we do not at least win one and draw the other.’