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Aston Villa v West Ham United Live Commentary, 31/10/2021

1 - 4
O. Watkins (34)
B. Johnson (7)
D. Rice (38)
Pablo Fornals (80)
J. Bowen (84)
Villa Park


That's all from Villa Park, as West Ham haunted the home side with a frightfully dominant victory. We'll see you for the next game, goodbye.
West Ham's assault on the traditional 'Big Six' continues with feeling, and this win consolidates their place in fourth, above Manchester United and Arsenal. For Villa though, they continue to look over their shoulders as they remain in 15th, tied on points with Watford and Leeds, and unless they can reverse this dreadful slump in form, a relegation battle may well be on the cards at Villa Park.
Although West Ham's attackers ran riot late in the second half, their captain Declan Rice exerted control over proceedings for the full 90 minutes. The England midfielder, as well as his goal, assist, and two key passes, completed more passes than any other player in the match, and also completed a team-high 42 inside Villa's half, spurring his team-mates forward time after time, to ensure that Villa were camped in their own half for large proportions of that game.
What a performance from West Ham as they take all three points home with them! Although they slightly let Villa back into the game in the first half, the Hammers truly put the home side to the sword in the second as two late goals from Fornals and Bowen sealed the victory in what was a dominant performance from West Ham! Villa, not helped by Ezri Konsa's red card, ran out of steam badly as the half went on, and boos rang around the stadium at full-time as the hosts' dismal run continued!
90' + 2' We're two minutes into an added four of injury time, but it definitely looks too late for Villa to change anything about the result of this game.
V. Coufal
Pablo Fornals
West Ham United
90' + 1' Fornals has also impressed, and it's a defensive replacement in Vladimir Coufal who enters the pitch.
N. Vlašić
J. Bowen
West Ham United
90' + 1' Bowen has exceled in this game, and Nikola Vlasic comes on for him.
89' West Ham's possession in this half has been a massive 70.1 per cent, compared to just 43 per cent in the first half. Their dominance is no surprise, given how little they've had to deal with from Villa in this second period.
87' Nakamba brings down Rice on the edge of the box, but Lanzini's free-kick is just a touch too high as it fizzes over the bar.
85' That Bowen goal was his fourth shot on target from six attempts in this game, and he's also won a team-high three fouls; he's increasingly showing his value to this well-oiled West Ham machine.
M. Lanzini
West Ham United
84' The assist from Lanzini was testament to West Ham's dominance in most of this half. He could've had a shot himself, but the ease at which he could set up Bowen for a certain goal meant that the substitute could take that easier option, and it paid off as his side are all but home in this punishing victory.
J. Bowen
West Ham United
84' GOOOOALLLLL!!!! There's number four and Bowen finally has his goal!!! It's the most well-worked move of the game for West Ham; Antonio drives into the box and feeds Lanzini, who unselfishly passes first-time to the unmarked Bowen who makes no mistake in making it 4-1 to the Hammers! What an away performance, and it's game, set and match at Villa Park.
82' Aston Villa haven't beaten West Ham in their last six games, since a 1-0 home win in May 2015, and that third goal looks like that run will very soon become seven!
Pablo Fornals
West Ham United
80' GOOOALLLL!!!! That's the third, and it might seal three points for West Ham!!! Bowen sprints forward and is one-on-one with Martinez, who does brilliantly to save his shot. However, Fornals slides in at the back post to fire the rebound home and put West Ham 3-1 up! It's hard to see any way back for the home side now, and the Hammers could well be taking the points back to East London!
J. Bowen
Yellow Card
West Ham United
79' Bowen is also booked for his part in the melee, and that could've been ugly if the referee hadn't taken action.
J. McGinn
Yellow Card
Aston Villa
79' McGinn is also yellow-carded, and after his run in made things much worse, you can't argue with that.
Pablo Fornals
Yellow Card
West Ham United
79' Fornals and Nakamba collide going for a 50-50 and a melee ensues, with Bowen pushing a furious McGinn to the ground as both sets of players run into the tussle. Fornals is given a yellow for the original challenge.
77' Ogbonna looks to catch Hause out of position as he intercepts the Villa defender's pass and fires it forward for Antonio, but captain McGinn races back to track Antonio's run and wins possession back from the home side.
75' Nakamba drives through midfield for Villa and looks to find Cash on a forward run, but the pass is poor and far behind the advancing full-back, who can't stop it going out for a throw-in.
74' Fabianski does very well under pressure from Watkins to find Johnson, who is then able to set the Hammers away on another forward venture.
73' Cash is urged to shoot from 25 yards by the home crowd, and does so, but his driven, low effort flies just to the left of Fabianski's goal.
A. El Ghazi
L. Bailey
Aston Villa
72' Bailey hasn't had the impact that Dean Smith would've desired on his first start, and he's replaced by Anwar El Ghazi.
71' Lanzini cuts back to Fornals, who chips a pass towards Bowen. At the second attempt, Bowen fires a low shot on the turn that Martinez is able to hold at his near post, and Villa recover once again.
69' SAVED!! It's Rice who strikes the free-kick, bypassing the wall, and Martinez has to get down low to his left to tip the ball around the outside of the left post! Rice's attacking prowess, as previously mentioned, has been top-class in this game.
68' A West Ham corner is headed away but only as far as Lanzini, whose acrobatic volley is wayward due to Young smashing into the West Ham substitute as he look the shot.
66' Soucek has been excellent alongside Rice so far in West Ham's midfield. He's won possession eight times and made five clearances, doing his fair share of defensive work as Rice moves forward, on one occasion to grab himself a goal.
M. Lanzini
S. Benrahma
West Ham United
64' Manuel Lanzini comes on in West Ham's first change, replacing Benrahma.
63' An off-balance Fornals squeezes a great throughball forward for Antonio to chase, but before he can latch onto the ball Martinez is on the scene to clear for Villa.
62' Villa's press attempts to trap West Ham in their own half, and upon regaining possession, Nakamba is fouled near the touchline, and Villa's defenders head forward for the attacking free-kick.
60' Fornals and Bowen link up down the right, and the former shapes inside to shoot once again. However, in doing so, he pushes Targett over, and the free-kick blown against him ends the West Ham attack.
58' The Hammers look to break forward again, but a bouncing ball aimed for Fornals is headed away powerfully by Targett, and the ball thankfully flies into touch allowing the home side's players to get back in defence.
57' OFF THE BAR!!!! Another Cash throw-in, but this one is more potent as Mings heads down to McGinn. His cross is met by Watkins, whose header cracks off the crossbar and back out again!!! That's Villa's best chance of this half, and it was only inches away from an equaliser!!
55' The corner is dealt with, but West Ham come forward again and Soucek has a pop from distance, although it's far too high to trouble Martinez.
55' Cash has to get back to prevent Soucek from shooting on goal, but he can only do this at the expense of a corner to the away side.
54' Cash launches a long, Rory Delap-esque, throw into the West Ham box, but the Hammers defenders are able to rise to head away the danger.
T. Mings
E. Buendía
Aston Villa
52' Konsa's dismissal leaves the home side short at the back, and so Tyrone Mings, who's the opposite of short, comes on as Buendia is sacrificed for ten-man Villa.
52' Cresswell's eventual free-kick deflects off the wall, and Hause recovers to clear for Villa.
E. Konsa
Red Card
Aston Villa
50' Hause avoids trouble, but the closeness to goal of Konsa's foul sees him given a red card by the referee instead!! It looks harsh given there was minimal contact, but he was the last man and the Villa defender can have few complaints!
49' VAR is checking a collision between Hause and Fornals in the build-up to that prior foul, and it shows that the Villa centre-back really did clatter Fornals late, with a very high and outstretched elbow.
46' Targett fires a ball forwards and Watkins gives chase, but Fabianski races out to collect the ball as the Villa striker closes in.
46' And we're back underway for the second half as Fornals kicks off for West Ham!
The home crowd expects a response as the teams come back out, and so will Villa manager Dean Smith as his side aim to overturn this one-goal defecit.
Should West Ham hold onto this half-time lead, they'll complete an eight-match unbeaten run away from home, having last done so, in the top-flight, between August and November 1986.
What a half that was! It was all West Ham early on, as Johnson popped up from-right back to score the Hammers' first goal. Villa grew into the game after that though, and Watkins' equaliser came from a very well-worked move by McGinn and Buendia. Defensively though, the home side gave Rice far too much time to pick his spot, and he did just that, firing his side's second into the same corner of the net as Johnson's opener. They deservedly lead at the interval, and David Moyes' side will feel that they can add to it further, based on that early performance.
45' + 1' We're into an extra two minutes of added time at the end of the first half.
45' A Young cross is headed away by Ogbonna, but the ball eventually finds McGinn, whose shot from the edge of the box deflects off Soucek and goes behind for another Villa corner.
44' Watkins looks to get around Zouma, who drives him back towards the corner flag. The Villa striker has the beating of him tough, and forces a corner from the Hammers defender.
42' Targett whips in a great cross, that finds McGinn on a late run into the box. He can't get any power or direction on his header though, and it bounces behind for a goal-kick.
40' A goal and an assist already for Rice, who has also won all of his aerial duels. He really is becoming the complete midfielder, under David Moyes.
S. Benrahma
West Ham United
38' Benrahma's cutting inside drew the attention of Villa's players towards him, and Rice was completely unmarked 25 yards out before unleashing that firecracker of a shot!!! What a strike from Rice, whose stock grows higher by the game!
D. Rice
West Ham United
38' GOOOOOOOOOALLLLLL!!!!! They weren't level for long!!!! Benrahma cuts inside again and looks to make space for himself, but he's crowded out. He passes to Rice, who hardly takes a step before firing the ball low into the bottom corner!!! What a strike to put the Hammers back into a 2-1 lead!!!
37' From the corner, Young looks to have impeded the jump of Zouma who asks for a penalty, but the referee isn't convinced as play carries on.
36' West Ham look to get back in the lead as Antonio shoots inside the box. Konsa is with him all the way though, and the shot deflects off the foot of the Villa defender and goes behind.
E. Buendía
Aston Villa
34' The pass from McGinn to find Buendia from good, and the Argentinian's pace to get around Ogbonna and cut the ball back perfectly was even better! We have a game on our hands here at Villa Park!
O. Watkins
Aston Villa
34' GOOOALLLLL!!!!! There's the equaliser!!! Great play from Villa as McGinn picks out Buendia on the run. He charges into the box and cuts the ball back to the penalty spot, where Watkins is waiting to fire the ball past Fabianski!!! 1-1, and this game is turning into a real cracker!!!
33' Buendia is brought down but the referee plays advantage as the ball falls to Cash, but the right-back fizzes a shot from the edge of the box that curls away from goal as it flies over.
32' Fornals cuts inside and crosses for Bowen, but it's headed away by Konsa. Rice's ball back into the box looks promising, but it's cut out by Young who speeds away on the attack for the home side.
30' Ogbonna and Fabianski have a breakdown in communication inside their own six-yard box, and, under pressure from Watkins, the West Ham keeper is forced into side-footing the ball behind for a Villa corner.
29' Bowen attempts to get the upper hand over Young and looks to have dispossessed him legally, but the referee doesn't agree and blows for a free-kick against the West Ham winger.
28' West Ham break forward as Bowen cuts inside again, but his ball across to Benrahma sees the winger brought down by Nakamba for a free-kick. The Zimbabwean Villa midfielder was lucky to avoid a booking, there.
26' Villa have their best spell of possession so far, but poor crosses from Bailey and Targett respectively put an end to any potential chances.
25' Bowen looks to get away again, but he's pulled back by Young and wins a free-kick.
23' West Ham look to break forward through Antonio, but Cash slides in and hoofs the ball down the field to put an abrupt end to the visitors' attack.
22' Bowen's been the stand-out on the left so far for West Ham. Although his right-side defender Johnson scored the goal, Bowen's had one shot on target from two attempts, as well as two key passes. Villa need to lock down that side of the pitch sooner rather than later if they're to avoid the ex-Hull man running riot as this game progresses.
20' A loose Hause pass is intercepted by Antonio who charges into the box, but Hause does well to recover and forces the West Ham striker into firing a poor cross into the stands.
19' Fornals looks to beat Hause out wide, but the West Ham midfielder is outmuscled off the ball and Hause comes away with it, having done well not to concede a corner or free-kick there.
18' The loss of Ramsey has forced a re-shuffle in Villa's formation. His replacement Young is now on the left wing, with Bailey on the right and Buendia in behind Watkins. McGinn and Nakamba are now further back in a double pivot behind the front four.
16' West Ham break forward and Bowen has two shots on goal, but both times Konsa gets in the way to come to Villa's rescue.
15' The free-kick flies over everyone, but is gathered by Bailey. He fires a shot goalwards, but it's caught in the midriff of Fabianski in the West Ham goal.
A. Young
J. Ramsey
Aston Villa
15' The young Villa midfielder can't carry on, and Ashley Young comes on for him.
14' Ramsey is still down and receiving treatment. His injury must be a serious one, as the push from Soucek was by no means as forceful as the simultaneous collision between Bowen and Watkins.
12' Watkins and Ramsey are both clattered by Bowen and Soucek respectively, and the referee awards a free-kick against West Ham in quite a dangerous-looking position.
11' Bailey takes a throw-in from a good position for Villa, and upon getting the ball back, forces a deflection from Bowen and gains a corner for the home side.
9' West Ham have won 17 points from their nine previous Premier League games this season, their best start to a season since 2015-16, and with early goals like that, Hammers fans can bet on that great start continuing further!
D. Rice
West Ham United
7' Rice and Soucek have, as usual this season, controlled the midfield so far, and Rice's pass for Johnson gave him space to cut inside Targett and fire the ball into the corner!
B. Johnson
West Ham United
7' GOOOOALLLLL!!!!! What a start for West Ham!!!! It's the right-back Johnson who has the ball on the right-wing and, despite having options, cuts inside to fire a low shot into the bottom corner that beats Martinez and puts the away side 1-0 up already!!! No one thought he'd shoot, least of all Martinez, who saw the ball very late and couldn't keep it out!
6' Zouma's long ball looks to find Antonio on the run and it does so, but the Hammers striker can't control the ball under pressure from Hause and the ball bounces behind off the top of the head of the Jamaica striker.
4' West Ham won this fixture 3-1 last season, and are looking to pick up consecutive league wins at Villa Park for the first time since a run of three between 1965 and 1967.
2' Bowen cuts in-field and plays the ball across to Benrahma. He also cuts inside but shoots, however it's a wayward effort that flies well wide and flies behind, nowhere near the goal.
1' The knee is taken by both sets of players, before Villa's Nakamba gets the game underway!
A roaring Villa Park awaits as the players come out, but it falls silent to hear the Last Post ahead of Remembrance Day, prior to kick-off.
West Ham’s side is unchanged from their victory over Tottenham, with the side spearheaded by their own top scorer in Michail Antonio, who is second only to Mohamed Salah’s 16 direct goal involvements so far this season, with six goals and three assists to his name already.
Top-scorer Danny Ings misses this match through injury, and so, in the hope of retaining a high-quality attacking output, manager Dean Smith has awarded fellow summer signing Leon Bailey his first start on the left for Villa.
WEST HAM UNITED SUBS: Alphonse Areola, Vladimir Coufal, Andriy Yarmolenko, Manuel Lanzini, Nikola Vlasic, Craig Dawson, Mark Noble, Issa Diop, Arthur Masuaku.
WEST HAM UNITED (4-2-3-1): Lukasz Fabianski; Ben Johnson, Kurt Zouma, Angelo Ogbonna, Aaron Cresswell; Tomas Soucek, Declan Rice; Jarrod Bowen, Pablo Fornals, Said Benrahma; Michail Antonio.
ASTON VILLA SUBS: Jed Steer, Tyrone Mings, Axel Tuanzebe, Ashley Young, Anwar El Ghazi, Carney Chukwuemeka, Cameron Archer, Keinan Davis, Aaron Ramsey.
ASTON VILLA (4-3-3): Emiliano Martinez; Matty Cash, Ezri Konsa, Kortney Hause, Matt Targett; John McGinn, Marvelous Nakamba, Jacob Ramsey; Emi Buendia, Ollie Watkins, Leon Bailey.
West Ham, meanwhile, are riding high in fourth, and come into this game off the back of a 1-0 win over London rivals Tottenham in their last Premier League fixture.
Home side Villa are in a dreadful spell of form, losing their last three straight games in the league. It's their longest spell of successive defeats since losing four matches in a row through February and March 2020.
Hello, and welcome to live coverage of this fixture from the Premier League, between Aston Villa and West Ham United.