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Premier League

  • 16 April 2011
  • • 15:00
  • • Boleyn Ground, London
  • Referee: M. Oliver
  • • Attendance: 33000
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West Ham - Aston Villa Preview: Points vital for both sides as Hammers aim to snipe down opponents in relegation battle

West Ham - Aston Villa Preview: Points vital for both sides as Hammers aim to snipe down opponents in relegation battle

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Avram Grant believes nine points from 18 will secure his side's Premier League status, while counterpart Gerard Houllier wants unbeaten end to a downtrodden campaign


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PROBABLE LINE-UPS
West Ham: Green; Tomkins, Upson, Da Costa, Bridge; Parker, Hitzlsperger, Noble; Keane, Cole, Ba.

Aston Villa: Friedel; L Young, Dunne, Collins, Walker; Downing, Petrov, Reo-Coker, Young; Agbonlahor, Bent.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • West Ham have only won one of their last nine Premier League games against Saturday’s visitors, with that victory coming in November 2009 at Upton Park, a match which saw Zavon Hines’ last-gasp strike cancelling out Ashley Young’s leveller.
  • The east London side will be hoping to avenge this season’s opening game 3-0 away defeat at Villa Park, a loss which began a string of four defeats and left them rooted to the foot of the table.
  • The visitors find themselves sat in 14th place in the Premier League with 37 points, just five points above the drop zone. West Ham are one place and one point below safety.
  • The Hammers have conceded seven goals in their last 135 minutes of football, with their second-half capitulation against Manchester United followed by a 3-0 drubbing at the Reebok against Bolton.
  • Aston Villa’s £24 million man Darren Bent will hope to take advantage of such lacklustre defending, having scored four goals in his last four away games in the Premier League.
  • The Villans' only two away victories this season have come against sides whose names begin with the letter W, with the scoreline 2-1 in both September’s derby win against Wolves and January’s clash with Wigan.
  • West Ham have conceded a joint high number of penalties with six so far this season, something which the cynics will have in mind considering the Premier League's most fouled player, Ashley Young, makes his way to Upton Park on Saturday. The 25-year-old’s gamesmanship came under scrutiny this week following comments from Newcastle United’s Ryan Taylor after he won a free-kick which led to James Collins' match-winning goal.
  • Hammers boss Avram Grant believes 41 points will be enough to ensure Premier League survival this season, with nine points from the remaining six games needed to meet that target, yet they have only gained 19 points at home this season, the second worst record behind Blackpool.
  • Villa boss Gerard Houllier has also laid down the gauntlet to his players, challenging them to go unbeaten for the remainder of the season, yet his side had picked up only six points from their past seven games before last Sunday’s 1-0 home victory over Newcastle United.
  • The Frenchman will also hope if his side take the lead they can maintain it, having dropped 23 points from winning positions this year, or that an impact substitution may inspire the points. Don’t hold your breath though, Aston Villa are the only side in the Premier League not to have had a substitute score for them this season.
LAST MEETING



August 14, 2010: Aston Villa 3-0 West Ham


The season opener brought a positive start for then caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald, as the home side ran out 3-0 winners, with first half goals from Stewart Downing and Stiliyan Petrov followed by a strike from now Manchester City man James Milner in the second half.

Players to watch

D. Ba

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Expect Demba Ba to be amongst most of West Ham’s attacking play on Saturday, with the Senegalese international making more of an impact than fellow January signing Robbie Keane since his arrival at Upton Park, bagging four goals in seven appearances.

The former 1889 Hoffenheim striker has a fierce strike and the ability to turn the pace of the game, and West Ham will need him to be leading from the front if they are to begin their fight against relegation with three points on Saturday.

D. Bent

Position: Attacker

Games: 7

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
The former Sunderland forward has bagged five goals in ten appearances since his move to the Midlands in January, with four of those strikes coming away from home. Bent scored a double in his side's last away clash in the Premier League, a 2-2 draw with Everton at Goodison Park.

Expect his pace to cause problems amongst an unsteady West Ham backline, with the speed of fellow forwards Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor creating the space in behind which he is so skilled at exploiting.

Editor's Prediction

It should be a feisty encounter at Upton Park, and with Villa looking to secure Premier League safety and West Ham needing to keep up with the pace in the escape from the relegation zone, all three points are vital for both sides. While the likes of Demba Ba and Scott Parker suggest West Ham should not be written off, the speed of the Aston Villa attack should be too much for a suspect Hammers defence.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

West Ham United

Aston Villa

Wins
2
2
1
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

West Ham United FC WHU
West Ham United FC West Ham United
Draw
Aston Villa FC AST
Aston Villa FC Aston Villa
39%
19%
42%

Top 3 Predictions

West Ham United FC WHU
1 - 2
Aston Villa FC AST
West Ham United FC WHU
1 - 1
Aston Villa FC AST
West Ham United FC WHU
2 - 1
Aston Villa FC AST

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