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West Ham strengthen top-four credentials with romp against 10-man Villa


Declan Rice scores
Declan Rice has been directly involved in four goals in the Premier League this season (one goal, three assists); already his joint-most in a single campaign

West Ham pushed their top-four credentials as they thrashed 10-man Aston Villa to condemn them to a fourth consecutive Premier League defeat.

The result leaves David Moyes’ side level on points with third-placed Manchester City in fourth, while Villa remain 15th, three points above the bottom three.

Ben Johnson opened the scoring for the visitors with a low drive into the bottom left corner from 18 yards after being picked out by Declan Rice’s cross-field pass.

And Rice drove into the same corner to restore the Hammers’ lead after Ollie Watkins had swept home an equaliser following good work from Emiliano Buendia near the byline.

Though Villa rallied and saw Watkins head against the bar from John McGinn’s cross their hopes of taking anything from the contest were ultimately undermined by Ezri Konsa’s dismissal for a foul on Jarrod Bowen.

The central defender was sent off with the Hammers forward judged to be through on goal and moments after Kortney Hause escaped punishment for a challenge on Pablo Fornals.

“It wasn’t a red card, ” said Villa boss Dean Smith. “The referee saw it in real time and thought the ball was going towards the goal. It amazes me, it wasn’t going towards the goal – and Ashley Young was covering. That staggers me.”

With Villa pressing forward for an equaliser, Fornals tapped in a third on the break and Bowen rounded off the scoring for West Ham with another close-range finish into an empty net after good work from Michail Antonio and Manuel Lanzini.

West Ham’s victory epitomised their fine start to the campaign and they have now earned more points at this stage of the season than any other, bar 1975-76.

Moyes’ side building momentum

While there is still a considerable distance to go until prizes and European places are confirmed next May, momentum and hope appears to be building at West Ham.

Moyes’ side have been excellent on three fronts this term, with a superb Premier League start, reaching the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup and taking charge of their Europa League group with three straight wins.

And there is also a positivity and attacking impetus attached to his side that has perhaps not always been present in his previous jobs elsewhere.

Rather than sitting back at Villa Park they went straight after their out-of-sorts opponents and the likes of Bowen, Tomas Soucek and Antonio all had good opportunities to double their lead before the home side levelled.

Rice’s goal owed a little to luck with Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez complaining that he had been unsighted by the England midfielder’s effort from distance.

However, after Konsa’s red card, they were thoroughly professional and eventually made their extra man count.

Villa, who started Leon Bailey for the first time and lost Jacob Ramsey to a first-half injury, will consider themselves unfortunate in moments but they were also far too passive early on, and with a man down, paid the price for having to constantly chase the game.

Player of the match

RiceDeclan Rice

Aston Villa

  1. Squad number11Player nameWatkins

  2. Squad number2Player nameCash

  3. Squad number7Player nameMcGinn

  4. Squad number19Player nameNakamba

  5. Squad number1Player nameMartínez

  6. Squad number10Player nameBuendía

  7. Squad number31Player nameBailey

  8. Squad number41Player nameRamsey

  9. Squad number30Player nameHause

  10. Squad number5Player nameMings

  11. Squad number3Player nameTargett

  12. Squad number18Player nameYoung

  13. Squad number21Player nameEl Ghazi

  14. Squad number4Player nameKonsa

West Ham United

  1. Squad number41Player nameRice

  2. Squad number20Player nameBowen

  3. Squad number31Player nameJohnson

  4. Squad number8Player nameFornals

  5. Squad number28Player nameSoucek

  6. Squad number10Player nameLanzini

  7. Squad number3Player nameCresswell

  8. Squad number9Player nameAntonio

  9. Squad number4Player nameZouma

  10. Squad number22Player nameBenrahma

  11. Squad number1Player nameFabianski

  12. Squad number21Player nameOgbonna

  13. Squad number5Player nameCoufal

  14. Squad number11Player nameVlasic

Line-ups

Aston Villa

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Martínez
  • 2Cash
  • 4KonsaBooked at 50mins
  • 30Hause
  • 3Targett
  • 7McGinnBooked at 79mins
  • 19Nakamba
  • 41RamseySubstituted forYoungat 15′minutes
  • 10BuendíaSubstituted forMingsat 52′minutes
  • 11Watkins
  • 31BaileySubstituted forEl Ghaziat 72′minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Mings
  • 12Steer
  • 16Tuanzebe
  • 18Young
  • 21El Ghazi
  • 33Chukwuemeka
  • 35Archer
  • 39Davis
  • 40Ramsey

West Ham

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Fabianski
  • 31Johnson
  • 4Zouma
  • 21Ogbonna
  • 3Cresswell
  • 28Soucek
  • 41Rice
  • 20BowenBooked at 79minsSubstituted forVlasicat 90+1′minutes
  • 8FornalsBooked at 79minsSubstituted forCoufalat 90+1′minutes
  • 22BenrahmaSubstituted forLanziniat 64′minutes
  • 9Antonio

Substitutes

  • 5Coufal
  • 7Yarmolenko
  • 10Lanzini
  • 11Vlasic
  • 13Areola
  • 15Dawson
  • 16Noble
  • 23Diop
  • 26Masuaku

Referee:
Chris Kavanagh

Attendance:
41,874

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