West Ham vs Aston Villa

There might have been an improved performance against Spurs but a trip to the high-flying Hammers looks ominous as we try to avoid a SEVENTH consecutive loss. We do however have good form at the Boleyn Ground, and Villa have sprung surprises against in-form teams in recent seasons…

Sam Allardyce on Villa

“[Paul Lambert] must be wondering what he’s doing wrong at the moment, because I watched the game against Tottenham last Sunday and thought how unlucky he was that he lost that game one to a sending off, and two to a deflected free-kick. That seems to happen when things aren’t going for you.

“You have to believe in yourself and your team, which he does, to come back. We have to make sure we try and continue their poor run. He’ll remember when they pulled off a result at Liverpool and say that’s what they’re capable of, so I’d imagine it’ll be a very difficult game in terms of trying to break them down and we’ll have to be really aware of not leaving too many spaces to let them play that good counter-attacking game that they seem to adapt to well away from home.”

Lambert on West Ham

“They are up there on merit. They have started the season really, really well. Upton Park is never an easy place to go but we’re certainly playing well enough to cause trouble.

“They’ve got good players there. It’s a tough game. They’ve got players there who have picked up some really good results. Away from home the expectation is going to be for West Ham to come at us but we’ve definitely got players to go and cause them trouble.

“We are playing well enough to go and get a result. Nobody likes losing games of football, let alone the run that we’re on. We’ve got to turn it around quickly.”

Memory Match

16th April 2011 West Ham 1 Aston Villa 2

Despite a 2nd minute goal from ex-Villan Robbie Keane Villa bounced back thanks to a goal from Darren Bent and a last minute strike from Agbonlahor.

West Ham – Last five matches at home: W 3, L 2

Villa – Last five matches away: W 2, L 3

Villa have lost twice against West Ham at the Boleyn Ground in the last five League meetings

One to Watch

Stewart Downing – there have been calls for the ex-Villa winger to return to the England squad having put in some excellent performances in a more central role

Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

Villa don’t enjoy trips to the capital at the best of times (we’ve won none of our last seven league trips to London) and with morale at an all-time low it’s difficult to see us getting anything from this one.

The last time we lost six consecutive games was 1967 and if that wasn’t bad enough there’s talk of key players leaving the Villa squad in the summer. For all the talk of a long-term plan under Lambert there hasn’t been much to suggest progress and having fewer than 10 points after 10 matches mirrors the early days of the 2012/13 season.

Even if we did give a slightly better account of ourselves against Spurs, West Ham have a good home record this season and are enjoying their best ever start to a league campaign – with 17 points and a goal difference of +5. In a case of bad luck that’s typical of Villa, Sam Allardyce and Hammers striker Diafra Sakho have just picked up manager and player of the month awards. It’s never easy to be a Villa fan.

What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide

There’s cause for concern with Benteke suspended but prior to his return we had been scoring some goals without him – albeit not many. Weimann will be tasked with leading the line against the Hammers and as he’s been involved with four of the five goals scored by Villa this season this is a reasonable option to have.

With Villa clearly frustrated by their own struggles lets hope we see cool heads prevail against West Ham. Villa received far too many needless bookings against Spurs last time out – we need to be more professional and composed in our approach.

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

The form book really goes out of the window with Villa and last season in particular we were often victorious against teams who were on a good run. Lambert has often managed a win during times of crisis and it seems unthinkable that we’d record a seventh loss.

History tells us that stats might finally be on Villa’s side on Saturday – the Hammers have only won five times against Villa in the last 27 league meetings. West Ham will be hoping to dictate the game but it could be at risk of complacency. It looks like we’re sticking with Lambert for now, so but he’ll need to enjoy an Allardyce-esque change of football fortunes.

UTV

Follow Lewis on Twitter – @rymondfootball

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