Ten-man Aston Villa slumped to a 1-4 home defeat to in-form West Ham United.
West Ham punished Villa for a slow start, Ben Johnson opening scoring early on, an Ollie Watkins goal briefly pulled us level following good build-up play by Matty Cash and Emi Buendia. Again thou, poor pressing and intensity saw a Delcan Rice strike to send the Hammers in at half-time 1-2 up!
Hope’s of a comeback after the break were severely dented by an Ezri Konsa red-card on the 50-minute mark, after denying Jarrod Bowen a goal-scoring opportunity!
Villa almost equalised when Watkins headed against the crossbar during a brave fightback, but the Hammers ended any hopes of a fightback with late goals from Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen.
Joining me today, Hannah Gowen, Georgia Homer, Gary Plaza, Liam Davies and Justin Hawthorne.
Emi Martinez – 6
With his father being ill and a midweek trip back to Argentina, maybe his mind wasn’t on it, and who could blame him.
He was beaten twice from range after the defence let him down for not closing down. Apart from that, he seemed reasonably untroubled in the opening 45 minutes.
A superb save from Rice’s free-kick kept it at 2 for a while. Another incredible save from Bowen, but as always, when you are on a losing run, the ball fell to a Fornals who made it 3. Plaza
Matty Cash – 6.5
I think Cash was the best player on the pitch for the 90. Whether it was the excellent solo run made in the build-up for our goal or his tireless defending – he was showing grit and determination. However, I can’t justify a higher score when we’ve conceded four at home… Hannah
Ezri Konsa – 4
First-half efforts overshadowed by a debatable sending off in the 50th minute. Left by his teammates to deal with Bowen alone, his foul was deemed to deny a goal-scoring opportunity, and we will miss him against Southampton. Georgia
Kortney Hause – 4
After being brought back into the starting lineup for the first time since Tottenham away, Kortney Hause had it all to do against an inform Michail Antonio up top for West Ham. The bullish centre-forward has been a threat all season long and is any defender’s nightmare with his power, strength and pace.
In what was a good contest between the two in the first half; Hause getting the better of Antonio on a couple of occasions, and the Jamaican outwitting the Englishman on others, it was a relatively even battle and therefore an average display from the number 30 in the opening 45. A silky piece of footwork to manoeuvre himself past a couple West Ham attackers was the highlight of his game so far.
The second half didn’t do the 26 year old any favours however, as he started proceedings seemingly lucky to have not been sent off after impeding Pablo Fornals who found himself bursting through the Villa backline. His fellow centre-back Ezri Konsa did eventually receive a red card in the same passage of play though, after a VAR review, allowing the hammers to pile on the pressure for the rest of the match. This made it difficult for Hause who spent the remaining 40 minutes up against it, and struggling to cope with the counter-attacking away side. After conceding two more goals in the final 10, it was a comeback appearance to forget for KH30. Liam
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Matt Targett – 5
Tried to get involved going forward but never really had the impact that cash did on the right, seams to have lost his mojo like so many currently! Justin
Marvelous Nakamba – 7.5
Villa’s best player today! Marvelous really got into West Ham throughout the game, even more so when we were down to 10.
Many examples of breaking up the play, tackles and pressing. Has to start vs Southampton. Plaza
John McGinn – 3
The Mcginn goal ‘curse’ appears to extend to captaincy as the vice took the armband for a second time. Outmuscled in midfield and was somehow booked for being shoved to the floor. Not his night. Georgia
Jacob Ramsey – N/A
Unfortunately, Ramsey’s recall to the starting eleven lasted only 15th minutes. Young replaced him after picking up an ankle injury! Ryan
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Emi Buendia – 5
Despite registering an assist, it was yet another quiet display from the club-record signing.
The number 10 found it hard to get on the ball in the first half despite being moved onto the right, an alteration to the central role he had at Arsenal last week. Nevertheless, his moment of magic came for the Villa goal; after being played in down the right by McGinn, the Argentine danced past Fornals before playing it perfectly into Ollie Watkins’ path for the leveller.
That was about it for Buendia though, who’s evening was arguably unfairly cut short on 52 minutes, being replaced by Tyrone Mings who came on for defensive reinforcement after the sending off. Emi consequently headed straight down the tunnel and into the dressing room, signifying his frustrations on being the man sacrificed. Another tough one for the former Norwich man. Liam
Leon Bailey – 6
The player everyone was waiting to see finally got a start and, if I’m honest, was a bit of an anti-climax;
I’m not blaming him as imo he didn’t look match fit, a few times in the first half he faced up the right back but chose to cut back and lay it off, not sure if his recent injury was playing on his mind, was substituted in the second half after running out of steam. Better days ahead for the winger. Justin
Ollie Watkins – 6.5
Back leading the front-line alone following Danny Ings’ injury, Watkins fired home the equaliser after great play by Emi Buendia. Unlucky not to get a second equaliser after rattling the crossbar in the second half.
Worked tirelessly and was always showing for the ball; unfortunately, there was no plan whatsoever from the midfield to feed him the ball! Ryan
Ashley Young (on for Ramsey, 15) 5
Young’s substitution was a bit of a strange one, though our bench was undoubtedly lacking from a midfield perspective today. Forced on after an early injury to Ramsey, Young did ok but didn’t really get hold of the midfield and similarly didn’t create much at all. Hannah
Tyrone Mings (on for Buendia, 50) 5
Our captain was brought on in place of Emi Buendia to patch the Ezri Konsa-shaped hole at the back after his dismissal.
Mings was bound to find it difficult given the circumstances but played a reasonably quiet game for his small amount of time on the pitch. The no. 5 won a couple headers from Matty Cash long throws, where Villa looked most threatening, but to no avail. With his team high up the pitch in search for an equaliser, Mings and his defence were caught out on the break twice in the closing stages, extending the West Ham lead to 3. It is hard to rate a performance that was so short-lived and tough on the player from the get-go, so I feel going smack-bang in the middle is fair here. Liam
Anwar El Ghazi (on for Bailey, 72) 5
Ref failed to play an advantage when El Ghazi was counter attacking the West Ham backline with the score at 1-2; halting play after a foul on Nakamba! Apart from that found it difficult to make an impact on the game. Ryan
Subs not used | Jed Steer, Axel Tuanzebe, Carney Chukwuemeka, Cameron Archer, Keinan Davis, Aaron Ramsey.
Aston Villa | Watkins (34)
West Ham United | Johnson (7), Rice (38), Fornals (80), Bowen (84).
West Ham United, 4-2-3-1 | Fabiański, Johnson, Zouma, Ogbonna, Cresswell (Coufal, 90); Rice, Souček; Bowen (Vlašić, 90), Benrahma (Lanzini, 64), Fornals; Antonio.
Subs not used: Areola (GK), Coufal, Dawson, Diop, Masuaku, Noble, Yarmolenko.
Reviewed by Gary Plaxa
LINE-UP – 8
He had the courage to drop Mings after several poor games and showing the rest of the team that no one is untouchable. However, from the opening whistle, the players looked like they weren’t interested! Has Smith lost the dressing room?
GAME MANAGEMENT – 2
For me, this is where Smith fails constantly. Losing Ramsey early wasn’t great, but he had a ready-made replacement in Chukwumeka but opted for a wing-back in CM! Even putting Buendia in the middle and El Ghazi out wide would’ve been better.
I love Smith and what he has done for the club, but I feel it could be make or break on Friday, if not before. Not sure who would be an option for us? Many names mentioned so far…..
Potter – has done well at Brighton but can he manage a huge club like us?
Gerrard – Good option but will he jump ship in 2 years time for the Liverpool job?
Lampard – Go give your head a wobble if you think he’d improve us 🤣🤣
Southampton | St. Mary’s Stadium | Friday 5th November 2021
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