Recent home games have been crucial for West Ham United and they have managed to win each one of them. Well, this afternoon’s encounter against Aston Villa is no different. They will need three points here in order to lift themselves out of the relegation zone. They have experienced this feeling a number of times before this season, so here’s hoping they can do it again.
We may already be in March, but the Hammers have the chance to claim their first double of the season here, having beaten Steven Gerard’s side 1-0 at Villa Park back in August for what remains their only Premier League victory on the road to date.
Since then, Gerard has left his post and the villains are now under the stewardship of former Arsenal Head-Coach Unai Emery. The visitors have never won in Stratford and while the hosts will hope that this record continues, They will also be keen to make it another disappointing day for Emery, as the Spaniard suffered a 1-0 defeat here back on 12 January 2019.
Another statistic in favour of the Irons is that David Moyes also has a good record against the Midlands club and he will be desperate to keep that run going.
This is the last top-flight match for the East Londoners until April and the whole mood around the club will be boosted if they can collect another three points here. They will also want to build on the 4-0 trouncing of newly-promoted Nottingham Forest the last time they were in action here on February 25.
Emery’s team go into this game having had a full week to prepare, whereas the East Londoners still have Europe on their minds with the second-leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League Round of 16 tie against AEK Larnaca to come in just four days time.
Kurt Zouma was handed a start in Cyprus after a period of time out with injury and he can make a welcome return to top-flight action. The Frenchman may partner Nayef Aguerd in central defence, should Angelo Ogbonna not be deemed fit enough to be involved. Thilo Kehrer may retain his place ahead of Ben Johnson in defence.
Emmerson Palmieri is another option to come back into the starting line-up. Michail Antonio will be assessed after sustaining a slight calf problem three days ago, as will Lucas Paquetá. If Antonio was to miss out, then either Danny Ings will feature against his former club, or Moyes may turn to Gianluca Scamacca.
The match is a 2pm kick-off and the referee is Christopher Kavanagh.