West Ham have hammered their way into the League Cup quarter-finals, their midweek penalty shootout heroics ensured that they beat the Cup holders and Champions of England to get through to the next round of the competition. All the West Ham players scored showing nerves of steel, with Benrahma scoring the decisive penalty to hand West Ham the win. This weekend however they face a completely different test in Aston Villa. The Villains have had a few more days to prepare for this game, no midweek fixture has done them a favour.
Aston Villa have slipped down the table in the last few gameweeks, and after last week’s defeat at Arsenal further illustrated how poor Villa have been recently. Jacob Ramsey’s goal was a silver lining in an otherwise sour defeat, Villa really have a massive talent on their hands. Villa should also make the best of playing at home.
When & Where?
Venue: Villa Park.
Date: Sunday, 31st October.
Time: 4:30 pm UK.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh.
Assistants: Dan Cook, Nick Hopton.
Fourth official: David Coote.
VAR: Stuart Attwell.
Assistant VAR: Harry Lennard.
Bertrand Traore is fit for selection but could be restricted to just a substitute appearance, while Keinan Davis is back in action after a knee injury.
Trezeguet still remains a Long term absentee for Villa after suffering a Serious Knee injury earlier this year.
For the Hammers, summer arrival Alex Kral won’t feature following a positive test for Covid-19.
Vladimir Coufal has been suffering from a groin injury, but he did return with a late cameo against Manchester City and should be fit for the weekend. The rest of the squad are available for selection.
Aston Villa need to come up with something special at home if they are to trump West Ham especially the kind of form that Villa have been in. 3 defeats on the spin don’t really tell the full story, as the defensive worries start to mount for Aston Villa. The first priority for Dean Smith and his men will be to have a solid defensive structure, with an emphasis on keeping a clean sheet.
There is one major disadvantage for Aston Villa that West Ham will be licking their lips at, set pieces have been the bane of Villa’s existence in the last few games, even when Villa do manage to defend set-piece well a deflection undoes them. West Ham thrives on set pieces, having one of the tallest average height in the Premier League and with Aaron Creswell’s wicked deliveries West Ham are a major threat from a dead ball situation.
Dean Smith and his coaching staff will have to plan carefully for the set pieces, while also making sure they take their chances in attack when they fall to them.
Aston Villa: Leon Bailey
The announcement of the signing of Leon Bailey was a massive surprise, no one expected Villa to make a move for the forward and he made an instant impact on his debut getting a goal and an assist in the space of just 15 minutes. The forward also picked up an injury in the same game, limiting his involvement for Villa, since then there have been glimpses of the talent that Bailey brings, but it might take a bit longer for him to settle in. This is exactly the kind of game that could bring out the best in him with his link up with Mcginn and Danny Ings really catching the eye.
West Ham: Michail Antonio
West Ham have their all-time top goalscorer to thank for their fine form in the Premier League and although David Moyes has seen some minor set backs this season, their form in all competitions has been tremendous. After a memorable midweek victory against City, West Ham and Antonio will be looking to add to their tally of victories. Reaching the milestone of top goalscorer has given Antonio a real boost of confidence and has spurred his form on to newer heights. Antonio’s versatility and ability to score from anywhere in the box make him a tough target to mark, and he might be West ham’s most direct route to goal in this game.
Aston Villa predicted XI: Emi Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; Mcginn, Douglas Luiz, Jacob Ramsey; Bailey, Ings, Watkins.
West Ham United Predicted XI: Fabianski; Creswell, Ogbona, Zouma, Coufal; Soucek, Rice; Benrahma, Fornals, Bowen; Antonio.