West Ham United bounced back from their home defeat to Liverpool on Sunday by picking up their sixth success on the road this season, as they beat Aston Villa 3-1 at Villa Park on Wednesday night.
David Moyes made two changes from the match three days ago, as he gave new loan signing Jesse Lingard his debut, while there was also a start for Ryan Fredericks. Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen dropped to the bench.
Lingard, who hadn’t started a competitive match since Manchester United’s FA Cup third round Victory over Watford, was raring to go and was involved right from kick-off.
The winger had a great chance for his new side just sixteen minutes in when he made a move towards the home side’s goal after being cleverly set up by Saïd Benrahma. However, Villains’ goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez was equal to the effort and made a superb save.
West Ham were determined not to let Dean Smith’s side climb above them in the table and had further chances to go ahead as Benrahma, Vladimír Coufal and Michail Antonio all tested Martínez, while Tomáš Souček was narrowly wide with his attempt just minutes later.
After being dominated by Jürgen Klopp’s men last time out, the hosts knew they were in for a tough night but they did have a chance to open the scoring on twenty seven minutes when Oliver Watkins went close but thankfully, Hammers’ stopper Łukasz Fabiański had it covered by the finest of margins, as the ball grazed the outside of the post.
The Irons were so much on top in the first-half and it was hard to see how they weren’t ahead at the break. The home side were still in the game, as the deadlock was yet to be broken.
It took the visitors a while to rediscover their rhythm as the second-half got underway with the home side having their first real spell of possession, but once Moyes’ men got going again, there was no stopping them.
The East Londoners were keen to claim back-to-back away wins after their recent success at Crystal Palace and were on course to do just that when the first goal arrived with fifty one minutes gone. Souček, who helped himself to a double against the Eagles, was on target again as he gave Martínez no chance.
Villa had not beaten West Ham in nine previous meetings and it looked as if that run would continue when they stretched their lead just five minutes later. They launched a counter-attack and Lingard was presented with a great chance to beat Martínez and he didn’t waste it. In so doing, he notched up his first top-flight goal of the campaign.
It was nearly three just past the hour mark. The visitors went close again when Aaron Cresswell picked out Antonio. The former Nottingham Forest man looked odds-on to score but somehow, Tyrone Mings made a magnificent goal-line clearance.
It is well known that Jack Grealish is so often the key man for the hosts and he was at the heart of things as they halved the deficit on eighty one minutes when he played Watkins through. The striker was able to beat Angelo Ogbonna and finish past Fabianski.
That goal didn’t seem to cause West Ham problems though, because they added a third less than two minutes later and what a way to cap off Lingard’s debut. The loanee netted his second when he struck a powerful effort past Martínez, although the former Arsenal man should have perhaps done a lot better.
With the points heading back to East London, Moyes decided to make a change, replacing Fredericks with Fornals a minute later.
Another four minutes had passed when Ben Johnson was introduced to make sure that the Hammers kept their defensive shape. The youngster took the place of Benrahma.
Four minutes of stoppage time were then added and in the first of those, the Irons’ boss made his final change with Bowen coming on for the impressive debutant.
When referee Andrew Madley blew the final whistle, West Ham could celebrate their first double of the season. Moyes’ men face a second consecutive road trip on Saturday when they travel to Craven Cottage to face newly-promoted Fulham in a London derby.