Aston Villa vs West Ham: Irons get bounce, Villans deflection dejection
Pablo Fornals’ deflected strike gave West Ham United its first goal and points of the season in a 1-0 defeat of Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday.
David Moyes’ men had lost three matches to start the season and looked second-best for the first half-hour or so at Villa Park.
But the Villans had a goal turned back by a corner kick going out of play and saw Philippe Coutinho limp off the pitch in what turned out to be a pretty even game.
Fornals’ goal stood as the difference with Declan Rice getting an assist on West Ham’s first three points of the season.
Villa joins West Ham with one win and three losses, both teams suffering through ugly starts to the season.
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Here’s everything you need to know for Aston Villa vs West Ham.
What we learned from Aston Villa vs West Ham
Villa has to start asking bigger questions: Yes, there was a goal taken off the board. Yes, Tyrone Mings was hurt and Coutinho joined him. And it took a deflected shot to beat Emiliano Martinez.
But Villa is supposed to be past a 1-3 start that now includes losses to Bournemouth, Palace, and West Ham. Their lone win came over a very poor Everton side and there have to be questions about how Steven Gerrard is using his players or how they are responding to the former Rangers boss. Nothing changed for his team at halftime. A more experience manager got it right in the other dugout.
Losing to West Ham isn’t the end of the world but Villa was very poor at the end of last season, too, winning just twice over the final few months. This is unacceptable, and Arsenal’s next with Man City to follow the Gunners.
West Ham gets a break: Oh boy did the Irons need this win. Losses to Man City and Brighton in London and Nottingham Forest at the City Ground were the opposite of the plan, and West Ham has Spurs and Chelsea before returning to the Europa Conference League. It’s true that you’d love to see something profound from West Ham’s best attackers but maybe the deflected goal helps Fornals kick-on ahead of two big London derbies, where anything can happen.
This was a prime example of two teams playing typical, old-school Premier League football with the influx of pure international class that’s come from new-age Premier League budgets. Slick passes but just 16 shot attempts with five shots on target. Villa will feel aggrieved to have 58 percent possession and 9-7 shot advantage, but that’s life.
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Stars of the show
John McGinn - Villa’s new captain buzzed around, further taking the reins once Coutinho went down.
Lucas Digne - So good on his day, and this was one of them.
Declan Rice - The bus driver of Moyes’ Grit Express.
Thilo Kehrer - Ex-PSG man joins West Ham mates in strong back three performance.
Philippe Coutinho - Prior to injury, looked the most likely to push Villa onto the scoreboard.
Villa will visit Arsenal at 2:30pm ET Wednesday, while West Ham gets a home London derby with Tottenham Hotspur about 15 minutes later.
How to watch Aston Villa vs West Ham live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 9am ET, SundayTV Channel: USA NetworkOnline: Stream via NBCSports.com
Aston Villa team news, injuries, lineup options
Ludwig Augustinsson is back after a knee injury, which gives Gerrard extra defensive options off the bench. Due to Diego Carlos’ injury he will likely start with Mings and Konsa at center back again.
West Ham team news, injuries, lineup options
Nayef Aguerd, West Ham’s marquee defensive signing of the summer, is ruled out for a few months after suffering an ankle injury in preseason. Craig Dawson is closing in on a return after his thigh injury, while Vladimir Coufal is fit after a clash of heads against Brighton last time out.