Match: Aston Villa v West Ham
Date: Monday 16th September 2019
Venue: Villa Park
Heaton, Guilbert (Davis 85), Engels, Mings, Taylor, McGinn, Grealish, Jota (Elmohamady 65), El Ghazi, Nakamba (Luiz 81), Wesley. Unused subs: Steer, Konsa, Hourihane, Lansbury.
Story in brief
Villa had to settle for a draw in an absorbing contest, although on reflection it was a decent point against an in-form West Ham outfit.
Even after being reduced to ten men in the 67th minute, the Hammers still looked menacing on the break, although Jack Grealish almost won it right at the end when he just failed to control a curling cross from sub Douglas Luiz.
Chances were at a premium during a disjointed opening period, with Villa only occasionally finding any rhythm.
Even so, Wesley was only just too high with an early close-range header from Grealish’s superb cross, while John McGinn’s stinging left-foot drive was tipped away by Lukasz Fabianksi on the stroke of half-time.
The visitors’ only real threat at that stage was a Sebastien Haller header which flashed narrowly wide, and Villa really stepped up the pace after the interval, McGinn firing just wide before an Anwar El Ghazi shot was well saved by Fabianski.
Arthur Masuaku was sent off after picking up a second booking when he fouled Ahmed Elmohamady, but Villa were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage.
Going in where it hurts
They are normally noted for classy performances in defence and midfield respectively, but Tyrone Mings and Jack Grealish both threw themselves in the line of fire in aid of the Villa cause.
Both players made vital blocks in the second half to ensure that the Hammers didn’t sneak away with all three points.
Grealish felt the full force of a Declan Rice thunderbolt, while Mings came to the rescue when Sebastien Haller looked a certain scorer.
Here are two players who are willing to put in the graft to accompany their undeniable craft.
Monday night; live on Sky – and still there was barely a spare seat in the stadium.
There’s no doubt that the claret-and-blue faithful have bought into Villa’s return to the top flight.
And Villa Park is set for an even bigger turn-out when Burnley head down Witton way a week next Saturday.
That match is already sold out – even the restricted-view seats have been snapped up.
After three years in the Championship, Villa supporters are clearly relishing life back in the Premier League.
Villa head to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday to take on Arsenal, kick-off 4.30pm, before returning to Villa Park on Saturday 28th September for the sell-out clash against Burnley (3pm).
In between times, it’s a Carabao Cup clash at Brighton’s Amex Stadium on Wednesday 25th September, kick-off 7.45pm.