Aston Villa and West Ham are two teams with contrasting form
West Ham to win 2-1
West Ham and Aston Villa are two of the teams outside of the ‘big six’ who have benefitted from a strange start to the Premier League season.
Both have felled big teams already, with The Hammers taking down the likes of Leicester and Wolves, while Aston Villa thrashed last season’s champions Liverpool in a 7-2 shocker.
West Ham go into this match in slightly better form, however. They have won their last two matches with their only win since September coming against Liverpool. Although they sit below Villa currently, the look one of the teams most likely to break into the top six.
Villa’s form has dipped slightly of late. They have lost their last two home matches, sandwiched either side of a strong win against Arsenal. Perhaps that away form can help them here, but it should be a close encounter.
Form Guide (all comps): DDLWW
Reasons to be cheerful:
Only one lost in last six matches
Will take pride from hard-fought victories
Reasons to be fearful:
Aston Villa’s away form is strong
Scoring goals has been harder of late
West Ham manager David Moyes will be pleased with his side’s position at the base of the top half of the table, and will view this match as an opportunity to elevate themselves even further.
Their attack is looking good at present, though goals have been harder to come by of late – they’ve not scored more than once in their last four matches. Michail Antonio continues to work his way back to fitness.
Having said that, those recent hard-fought victories against Fulham and Sheffield United will bring a confidence to that side that would not have been there last season.
They have battled well this season, and should be tough for Aston Villa to break down this weekend. Said Benrahma will eventually be given his chance after his transfer from Brentford.
Star Man – Sebastien Haller
Has come on from last season, and has done well since his strike partner Antonio has been out injured
Form Guide (all comps): WLLWL
Reasons to be cheerful
Scoring with more frequency than their opponents
Yet to concede away from home this season
Reasons to be fearful
Will miss Ross Barkley through injury
West Ham are difficult to break down
Like other teams, in particular Manchester United this season, Aston Villa have been a much better side on their travels than at home.
They are yet to concede on their travels this season and ran out brilliant winners in beating Arsenal 3-0 in their last away fixture.
Ross Barkley has been a terrific signing for them, adding ability and physicality in the middle of the park, so he will be a big miss as he recovers from a hamstring injury. It could mean that Conor Hourihane comes in as a replacement.
As with many teams, inconsistency in performance is what will determine their league place come the end of the season and whether they can keep their top half position.
Star Man – Jack Grealish
Was fantastic as usual in their last away match against Arsenal – he will have a heavier burden as his side have to cope without Ross Barkley.
A close game which could go either way
One goal likely to separate them
West Ham’s battling spirit could nick it
This one has the potential to go either way, and a draw is not out of the question either.
Aston Villa have had some great results already this season, but West Ham represent a tough challenge for sure, especially with the Villains missing Barkley.
West Ham should be the favourites considering their current form.
West Ham to win 2-1