West Ham United had the chance to go above Aston Villa and extend David Moyes’ record by beating them at Villa Park on Sunday afternoon but unfortunately, they failed to take the opportunity, meaning that Unai Emery’s side have now gone eleven home games unbeaten, following a 4-1 victory.
Alphonse Areola retained his place in goal, meaning that the Frenchman was able to make his 50th appearance for the club, as Moyes named an unchanged side once again. Łukasz Fabiański had recovered from the injury that kept him out of the home game against Newcastle United, while youngster Divin Mubama was also amongst the options from the bench.
Looking for what would already be a third win on the road, Moyes’ side started brightly and had a great chance to open the scoring, as Lucas Paquetá played the perfect ball to Jarrod Bowen who only had home goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez to beat but the former Arsenal stopper made a great save. Had the former Hull city winger found the net however, it would not have counted as the offside flag went up.
West Ham were still looking threatening until the Villains went close with twelve minutes gone when Douglas Luiz went for goal but fortunately, Areola got a hand to his attempt and helped it over the top.
Bowen tried his luck again when he met Vladimír Coufal’s throw-in but his second attempt didn’t really cause Martínez any problems.
The threat from the Hammers seemed to have died down as the hosts started to get a rhythm going. Moussa Diaby played in Oliver Watkins but to the relief of the travelling contingent, the former Exeter City and Brentford striker missed the target.
The next move resulted in Emery’s team going ahead. A great team move involving Watkins and Nicolò Zaniolo meant that Luiz was well set to beat Areola. That he did but the Frenchman might have saved the effort had it not hit Nayef Aguerd on the way.
The visitors had an opportunity to level matters minutes before the break but unfortunately, Paquetá was unable to direct his overhead kick past Martínez.
Referee David Coote brought the first-half to a close and although they could have equalised, the Irons could perhaps count themselves lucky only to be a goal behind.
The deficit was made wider on fifty one minutes however, as Villa were awarded a penalty. A set-piece that was given to the home side was cleared but trouble was to follow, as Paquetá mis-controlled his ball to Edson Álvarez and Ezri Konsa fell under the challenge of the Mexican. Luiz took his time but confidently beat Areola from the spot.
Minutes later, the Irons found themselves back in the game. Before anyone could blink, Bowen’s shot was in the back of the net after the ball had hit Pau Torres.
The goal had clearly rocked the hosts and the East Londoners then started to exert a degree of control on the encounter. James Ward-Prowse took one of his trademark corners and Aguerd tried an ambitious effort after he was on the end of it but the Moroccan couldn’t get it on target, as Matty Cash got a vital block on it before it could beat Martínez.
Moyes’ men were on the hunt for an equaliser and on sixty seven minutes, the man who many West Ham fans expected to start this game, following his dramatic equaliser against the Magpies was introduced, as Mohammed Kudus replaced Tomáš Souček.
However, the game was effectively over just seven minutes after his introduction, as John McGinn set up Watkins to add another goal to his recent hot streak. His shot was diverted past a helpless Areola, via a deflection off Hammers’ Captain Kurt Zouma and the points were well and truly staying in Birmingham by this point.
Another change was made by West Ham on eighty six minutes, as Danny Ings made a brief appearance on his first return to Villa Park.
Leon Bailey finished the Hammers off three minutes later as a disappointing afternoon for those of a West Ham persuasion was capped off by a fourth goal.
Seven minutes of added time was signalled, as Pablo Fornals entered the fray for Paquetá.
You could have added as much time as you liked on the end of the game but the visitors were never going to get back into this game!!!
Both teams are back in European action on Thursday and for the East Londoners, it’s a trip to Greece to face Olympiacos.