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Tightest VAR call yet? Stoppage-time drama in West Ham - Aston Villa

West Ham scored in the opening seconds of both halves to hang on to win a back-and-forth duel with Aston Villa.

West Ham - Aston Villa: Centimeters denied Aston Villa a stoppage-time equalizer in a 2-1 loss to West Ham United at the London Stadium, as VAR denied hard-luck Villa a point.

A stoppage-time VAR review was as close as any you’ll see, as Ollie Watkins’ shirt sleeve was found to be offside and the ex-Brentford man denied a dramatic equalizer after missing a penalty earlier.

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Angelo Ogbonna scored off a Jarrod Bowen feed in the second minute and Bowen finished a Said Benrahma cross less than 30 seconds into the second half in the win, which puts West Ham into fifth with 17 points.

Jack Grealish scored a terrific goal for Villa, who sits 10th with 15 points.


West Ham - Aston Villa was neither without flash points nor drama.

Three things we learned from West Ham - Aston Villa

1. Watkins + centimeters x 2 = three points for West Ham: Villa striker Ollie Watkins’ shirt sleeve was adjudged to be just past the boot of marking Angelo Ogbonna and shirt sleeve of wide man Vladimir Coufal. That took an equalizer off the board in stoppage time, not too long after Watkins’ penalty clipped the crossbar. The margins between a point for Villa, who earlier tied the match after West Ham opened the scoring. Was this the tightest Premier League VAR review yet?

2. West Ham’s pre-match energy drinks: The Irons stormed out of the gate in both halves, scoring in the second minute through Ogbonna’s powerful leap and header before scoring off halftime sub Said Benrahma’s terrific cross to Bowen. Maybe it was a word of two from a leader or boss David Moyes, but the Irons had very little danger apart from those early-half goals.

3. Fabianski shines: Lukasz Fabianski deserves plenty of credit for this one staying in West Ham’s favor, as the Polish backstop made a terrific stop on Trezeguet amongst his five saves.

Man of the Match: Jarrod Bowen

The ex-Hull City man had a goal and an assist in his 79 minutes versus Villa. Bowen was winless versus Villa in five career appearances prior to this one, but had scored twice against the Villans in the Championship.

West Ham - Aston Villa recap

Ogbonna rose high to give the Irons their very early lead, thudding a header home at the back post off a corner kick.

Villa tried to answer off a dangerous free kick, and Lukasz Fabianski did well to thwart Ross Barkley’s 20-yard effort.

Grealish scored a beauty to level the score after 25 minutes, taking the ball in the middle of the West Ham half and driving toward the 18 before hitting a ball that took the slightest turn to beat Fabianski inside the far post.

Conor Hourihane was dangerous in the first half, smashing a shot off the outside of the goal off a free kick.

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Benrahma was West Ham’s early second-half provider, the Irons scoring in the 46th minute when the Algerian crossed for Bowen to head home 28 seconds into the frame.

Villa almost had a quickfire answer, Grealish driving toward the West Ham box and lining John McGinn up for a shot that Aaron Cresswell blocked for a corner kick.

Grealish sprung Ollie Watkins down the left side with a terrific pass, and the receiver found Trezeguet point blank for a show that was so well-saved by Fabianski.

Trezeguet won a penalty off Declan Rice after a shirt pull, the Egyptian then bloodied by the studs of the English international, but Watkins blazed the penalty off the crossbar.

Follow @NicholasMendola