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West Ham go fifth after Villa miss penalty


Jarrod Bowen scores
Jarrod Bowen has been involved in 10 goals for West Ham since his January move from Hull City (five goals and five assists)

West Ham moved fifth in the Premier League with 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.

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 Angelo 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.

West Ham’s fine form

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.

Angelo Ogbonna scores
Angelo Ogbonna’s opener (one minute and 50 seconds) was West Ham’s fastest Premier League goal in four years

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.

Frustration for slick Villa

Dean Smith’s side have been a difficult team to predict this season – three wins out of three on the road before this one but flaky at home.

They destroyed champions Liverpool but shipped goals in underwhelming defeats to Leeds, Southampton and Brighton.

They were also caught cold in the opening exchanges of each half here, two simple headers breaching their backline and undoing their good work going forward.

In Grealish, though, they had the game’s outstanding player and he deservedly hauled his side level with a trademark classy finish from outside the box midway through the first half.

His quick footwork was a constant threat but unusually he was let down by his supporting cast as Watkins not only missed from the spot but headed over another presentable opportunity.

Ollie Watkins rues missing a penalty
Ollie Watkins has failed to convert four of his six penalties taken in English league football, scoring once for both Aston Villa and Brentford while failing once for the Villans and three times for the Bees

Villa controlled the majority of the play but were not ruthless enough in either box to turn their dominance into points.

When Watkins tucked home in injury time, it seemed they had salvaged a point only for VAR to intervene and leave Smith counting the cost of those missed chances.

More to follow.

Player of the match

OgbonnaAngelo Ogbonna

West Ham United

  1. Squad number21Player nameOgbonna

  2. Squad number20Player nameBowen

  3. Squad number1Player nameFabianski

  4. Squad number9Player nameBenrahma

  5. Squad number3Player nameCresswell

  6. Squad number4Player nameBalbuena

  7. Squad number5Player nameCoufal

  8. Squad number41Player nameRice

  9. Squad number28Player nameSoucek

  10. Squad number18Player nameFornals

  11. Squad number22Player nameHaller

  12. Squad number16Player nameNoble

  13. Squad number26Player nameMasuaku

  14. Squad number30Player nameAntonio

Aston Villa

  1. Squad number10Player nameGrealish

  2. Squad number6Player nameDouglas Luiz

  3. Squad number7Player nameMcGinn

  4. Squad number26Player nameMartínez

  5. Squad number11Player nameWatkins

  6. Squad number4Player nameKonsa

  7. Squad number2Player nameCash

  8. Squad number14Player nameHourihane

  9. Squad number5Player nameMings

  10. Squad number18Player nameTargett

  11. Squad number15Player nameTraoré

  12. Squad number17Player nameTrézéguet

  13. Squad number27Player nameAhmed El Mohamady

  14. Squad number21Player nameEl Ghazi

Line-ups

West Ham

  • 1Fabianski
  • 4Balbuena
  • 21Ogbonna
  • 3Cresswell
  • 5Coufal
  • 41Rice
  • 28Soucek
  • 26MasuakuSubstituted forBenrahmaat 45′minutes
  • 20BowenSubstituted forNobleat 79′minutes
  • 18FornalsBooked at 53mins
  • 30AntonioSubstituted forHallerat 45′minutes

Substitutes

  • 9Benrahma
  • 10Lanzini
  • 16Noble
  • 22Haller
  • 23Diop
  • 31Johnson
  • 35Randolph

Aston Villa

  • 26Martínez
  • 2CashBooked at 67minsSubstituted forEl Mohamadyat 88′minutes
  • 4Konsa
  • 5Mings
  • 18Targett
  • 7McGinn
  • 6Douglas Luiz
  • 14HourihaneSubstituted forTraoréat 74′minutes
  • 17TrézéguetSubstituted forEl Ghaziat 74′minutes
  • 11Watkins
  • 10Grealish

Substitutes

  • 3Taylor
  • 12Steer
  • 15Traoré
  • 19Nakamba
  • 21El Ghazi
  • 27El Mohamady
  • 41Ramsey

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