Great Week Ends With Villa Win
West Ham United are now unbeaten in eight consecutive Premier League matches away from home for the first time in thirty five years after a 4-1 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday afternoon.
David Moyes named the same starting line-up as he did for the victory in last Sunday’s London derby at home to Tottenham Hotspur.
The home side had considerably more time to prepare for this fixture than the Hammers, as the East Londoners had been involved in Carabao Cup action in midweek where they had knocked out current holders Manchester City on penalties, following a goalless draw. In contrast, Dean Smith’s men were given over a week’s break after their 3-1 defeat against Arsenal last time out.
With the hosts having lost their past three games, the Irons applied pressure early on and opened the scoring in the seventh minute. Ben Johnson scored his first goal of the season, as he was allowed time and space for a shooting opportunity. The defender tried his luck and beat goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez, bringing loud cheers from the large travelling contingent.
West Ham could have got themselves a quickfire second through Jarrod Bowen but unfortunately, Matty Cash headed off the line to prevent the former Hull City man from increasing the advantage for the visitors.
Although Moyes’ men had chances to go further ahead, the villains were finding their rhythm and equalised on thirty four minutes when Oliver Watkins beat Łukasz Fabiański. Emiliano Buendia latched onto a clever ball from John McGinn and played in the former Brentford man who finished past the Pole.
Smith’s side weren’t level for long though, as Captain Declan Rice received possession from Saïd Benrahma and produced a powerful shot which Martinez really had little chance of keeping out. The effort flew into the back of the net as soon as it left the midfielder’s foot.
West Ham were pleased to have gone into the break having regained their advantage. All they needed to do now was to see if they could finish the job off in the second-half.
Villa would have been disappointed to have let their visitors back in the game so quickly after levelling matters but they had more things to complain about when Ezri Konsa was initially booked for a challenge on Bowen. After consulting with VAR, referee Christopher Kavanagh reviewed his decision on the pitchside monitor and decided to change his mind as Konsa was the last defender and the home side were down to ten men.
Konsa’s sending-off looked harsh, as just seconds earlier, Kortney Hause had deliberately caught Pablo Fornals with his elbow and probably should have seen red instead. Kavanagh saw the incident not even worthy of a booking and incredibly the technology backed him up.
After suffering that setback, the hosts almost found themselves on terms for a second time with fifty seven minutes gone. Watkins headed goalwards but fortunately for the Hammers’ faithful, Fabiański managed to tip his effort onto the crossbar.
Moyes made a change in the hope that his side would be able to create more chances so on sixty four minutes, he introduced Manuel Lanzini for Benrahma.
It looked as though West Ham were only going to win this encounter by the odd goal but with ten minutes of normal time to play, Bowen went on the charge. Martinez initially kept him out, only for Fornals to knock the ball into the net on the follow up.
After being denied just four minutes earlier, Bowen managed to get on the scoresheet, as Michail Antonio and Lanzini combined and the Argentine set up the winger to make sure that the Irons would be taking home yet another three points.
West Ham made two other changes in the closing stages, as Vladimír Coufal and Nikola Vlašić took the places of both Bowen and Fornals.
Apart from the result at home to newly-promoted Brentford at the start of the month, the East Londoners will have been very pleased with the way that they negotiated a busy October. They start the new month by travelling to Belgium for the UEFA Europa League match against KRC Genk on Thursday night.