It’s the Matchday 9 in the English Premier League, and club football is back with mouth-watering fixtures lined up for this weekend. Two teams with much in common, both donning claret and blue, performing admirably in the league and competing in continental competitions this season, will face off on Sunday at Villa Park.
Unai Emery has changed the fortunes of Aston Villa since his arrival with only 2 losses and 5 wins in a total of 8 games this season accumulating 16 points resting on the 5th place on the league table. Meanwhile, David Moyes-led West Ham United are not behind presently sitting in the 7th place collecting 14 points in 8 games.
Both sides have been enjoying success in recent times, managing their hectic schedules with continental and league fixtures. Two of the finest managers in the league, Unai Emery and David Moyes, will stand on the sidelines in a tactical battle for 3 points.
The Villians will have the home advantage but the Conference league winners, the Hammers do have the potential to disrupt the winning moments of the hosts, having only lost to Liverpool and Manchester City.
When and Where?
Where: Villa Park
When: Sunday October 22, 2023
Time: 4.30 pm BST
Referee: David Coote.
Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis & Mark Scholes.
Fourth official: Thomas Bramall.
VAR: Chris Kavanagh.
Assistant VAR: Matthew Wilkes.
For the Villains, the long-term absentees include Emiliano Buendia, Alex Moreno, and Tyrone Mings due to injury. Jacob Ramsey remains unavailable due to injury, and Zaniolo returned to Italy following a betting allegation investigation.
While the Hammers are without Aaron Cresswell, Nayef Aguerd, Lukasz Fabianski, and Ben Johnson due to injury, the rest of David Moyes’s squad is all set to face Villa. James Ward-Prowse missed out on the England camp but will be in the best shape.
The hosts, managed by Spanish boss Unai Emery, might retain the 4-4-2 formation from their last 1-1 all-square away encounter against the Wolves. The Argentine shot-stopper in the post, the back 4 of Digne, Torres, Carlos, and Konsa, in addition to the midfield quartet of McGinn, Luiz, Kamara, and Cash. An informed partnership of Watkins and Diaby will lead the line upfront as the two forwards.
The Villain’s biggest win came against Brighton with a massive 6-1 scoreline on Matchday 7, as they are currently on an unbeaten streak in the last 4 league games.
The Hammers lineup formation is set in David Moyes’ familiar 4-2-3-1 formation. Frenchman Areola takes the position as number 1, with a four-man defense line consisting of Emerson, Aguerd, Zouma, and Coufal. They are supported by the two defensive midfielders, Alvarez and Soucek. In the midfield, there is a trio of Ward-Prowse alongside Paqueta and Bowen, with Antonio as the sole striker
The visitors have played only two fixtures in the league against the best sides, and in their last outing, they secured a 2-2 draw at home against Newcastle United.
The usual suspect, the England international striker, is in red-hot form and arguably the best player for the Villans this season. Watkins had national team commitments this international break, being called up by Gareth Southgate for the Three Lions’ fixtures. The 27-year-old scored against Australia in a friendly, earning a place in the first XI.
The Villa striker was on the bench against Italy in their UEFA EURO qualifier match. This season, he has scored 4 goals and provided as many assists, starting in all 8 league games.
For the Hammers, the key player is another English international renowned as a set-piece specialist. The attacking midfielder has been exceptional for the London side ever since his arrival from Southampton this summer. Despite his phenomenal performance in the West Ham jersey, he missed out on the national team call-up. Thus, he will start afresh to trouble the hosts with his creativity.
Ward-Prowse maintains a 100% starting record this season for the Hammers, having started all the games under David Moyes. He has accumulated 7 assists and found the back of the net twice in 10 appearances.
Aston Villa Predicted lineup vs West Ham: Martinez; Digne, Torres, Carlos, Konsa; McGinn, Luiz, Kamara, Cash; Watkins, Diaby.
West Ham United predicted lineup vs Aston Villa: Areola; Emerson, Aguerd, Zouma, Coufal; Alvarez, Soucek; Paqueta, Ward-Prowse, Bowen, Antonio.