West Ham move to fifth on PL table after Villa win
Published on: December 01, 2020 08:17 (EAT)
West Ham moved fifth in the Premier League with a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa in a pulsating match at London Stadium.
Villa’s Ollie Watkins was denied a stoppage-time equaliser after an agonising VAR wait deemed his upper arm was offside, even though he seemed to be being held back by Hammers defender Angelo Ogbonna.The former Brentford man also hit the bar with a penalty as the spirited visitors pressed for the leveller their play more than deserved. David Moyes has quietly established the Hammers as an effective outfit this season and they got off to the perfect start when Ogbonna buried a header past Emiliano Martinez inside the first two minutes. Villa had won all three of their previous away games and seized control of the first half after that, Jack Grealish whipping an equaliser past Lukasz Fabianski from distance. But Moyes rang the changes at half-time and it paid immediate dividends as substitute Said Benrahma set up Jarrod Bowen for a delightfully deft header immediately after the restart to retake the lead. Villa had plenty of chances to draw level but were left to rue Watkins’ profligacy and VAR’s ruling. West Ham, meanwhile, gratefully took the win to move to within four points of Tottenham and the Premier League summit. When West Ham were handsomely beaten by Newcastle on the opening day, the script was seemingly set for another season scrapping at the bottom of the Premier League. But since that defeat, the Hammers have thumped Leicester City and Wolves, drawn with Man City and Tottenham and accrued their highest points total after 10 games in nine years. Moyes’s teams are always built on firm foundations and the back three of Ogbonna, Fabian Balbuena and Aaron Cresswell, shielded by Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek, have been rock solid. Indeed, only Tottenham and Chelsea have conceded fewer in the league than West Ham. And they carry a threat from set-pieces too, no more evident than when Ogbonna towered above Matt Targett to open the scoring from Bowen’s corner. They surrendered the initiative in the first half but Moyes showed his nous to change it, bringing on Sebastien Haller and Benrahma at half-time, and he was instantly rewarded with the winning goal. They rode their luck, not least with Villa’s missed penalty and disallowed goal, but they took their chances and held on. West Ham may have been written off earlier this season but Moyes has previous with taking unfancied sides into the upper echelons of the league. With the Hammers sitting in the European places after 10 games, Moyes’s stock is rising once again. BBC Online