West Ham v Aston Villa 2016
Garde has recently praised the spirit of Villa, but they didn’t show any of that in the FA Cup last weekend. While a repeat of last season’s run to the final is no longer on the cards, a near-futile battle against relegation still has to be fought, and Garde will face West Ham for the second time as Villa manager on Tuesday. Bilic’s side were perhaps lucky to come away with a point last time the sides met. Can Villa give the fans some joy after deadline day disappointment?
West Ham are Currently on a nine-match unbeaten run at home in the league
Bilic on Emenike
“Emenike has been on our radar and I know him for a long time. He is a great player and I hope he is going to do a great job for us.
“He is big. He is not that tall but he is big and strong. He is extremely quick and he is very direct. He is a good goal scorer and he works for the team. He goes in the channels. He is a really good player.”
Garde on West Ham
“[West Ham are] a good side. it was a good game at Villa Park on Boxing Day.
“We are going to try and put the same spirit, the same attitude [that we had] in that game. Sometimes when the team, are struggling because of injuries it can [bring] more players together.
“We will expect from the players that we will be brave [against] West Ham.”
Garde on transfer frustrations
“I am disappointed. I know the team needs strengthening and improving with new players.
“Probably the main reasons we haven’t been able to are that we are bottom of the league and not very attractive for players – and also because financially-speaking the club is not in the situation, probably, where they wanted to spend too much money.
“I can understand that because in the last four or five years a lot of money has been spent without big results.
“But I cannot say that the club decided not to sign players. The truth is we identified a goalkeeper – the deal was good with the club and the player. We were denied a work permit. It was a big blow that we were not expecting.
“I had a long conversation with a striker but he chose finally to sign for another team.
“It’s not fair to say that we try not to sign players.
“I will do my best. I am sure the players will do the same.
“One or two new players would have been helpful for the target. But we still need to believe.”
08 Nov 2014 West Ham 0 Aston Villa 0
Just like the season before, Villa could only manage an unsatisfying draw at Upton Park.
West Ham – Last five matches at home: W 2, D 3
Villa – Last five matches away: D 3, L 2
Villa have won just once during the last five league trips to Upton Park.
One to Watch
Dimitri Payet – The French midfielder has been one of the best buys of the season and is a huge part of West Ham’s success – he’s created 57 chances this season!
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
It seemed a little harsh when West Ham sacked Sam Allardyce. After all, he’d dragged them out of the Championship and re-established them as a Premier League side.
Their decision to replace Big Sam with Bilic, however, looks a shrewd move. In a season characterised by underdog success and high profile hiccups from the league’s big guns, West Ham are 6th in the table. No surprise when you look at their recent form.
They might not be playing in the Boleyn Ground for much longer, but they are leaving on a high note – they’re currently on a nine-match unbeaten run at home in the league (W4, D 5).
Just one point behind Manchester United, they’re six points away from the top four, and their admirable ambition is in stark contrast to Villa’s resigned approach.
Villa need wins, and recent hard-fought draws have been spirited yet ultimately insufficient. Garde’s team will have a tough ask to get anything from their trip to London when you consider there have only been five goals in the last five league meetings in this fixture.
There have been just five goals scored over the previous five Premier League meetings between West Ham and Aston Villa.
With Kozak and Gestede likely absentees, Villa’s goalscoring issues look set to continue. No such problem for West Ham, who have seen fourteen different players score league goals for them this season (joint-high with Chelsea).
“One or two new players would have been helpful for the target. But we still need to believe.” – Garde on transfer woes
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
At the time of writing at least, it appears Villa have decided against any January squad additions. When teams around us are splashing the cash to bolster their teams, it’s annoying to see, and is emphasised by Garde’s sense of frustration.
Some may see relegation as a forgone conclusion, but some new faces would have at least given fans something to cheer. Instead we’re stuck with what we’ve got.
We know there’s some quality in the Villa XI, but inconsistency has blighted the campaign. There have been good performances from time to time. When we last played Tuesday’s opponents, we managed eight shots on target, this season’s best tally for Villa.
All we can hope for is that Villa put in a performance that makes us forget about transfer inactivity and look like a Premier League side – while it lasts.
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
Remember Twitter-loving N’Zogbia’s free kick in Lambert’s first season, and Cleverley’s goal under Sherwood? Both games bagged much-needed victories. Games against West Ham have yielded relegation battle boosts in the past.
It’s different now with West Ham up to dizzy heights in the table, but Villa have nothing to lose, and West Ham’s recent form suggests a win might just materialise.
The Hammers have lost just once during their last 10 league matches, but look at it another way – draws have been too common. Five of West Ham’s last eight league matches at Upton Park have ended as draws, so there’s a chance Villa could leave London with at least a point.
A point however is simply not good enough, and to build on Villa’s recent league solidity (we’re unbeaten in three league games) a victory is crucial.
It will probably be the last time Villa play at the Boleyn Ground, so we might as well win it.
Let’s hope it’s an occasion to remember.
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