Aston Villa hosted West Ham United at Villa Park knowing it was going to be a difficult evening. West Ham have made a fantastic start to the season and are a very well organised unit, everything Villa arent right now.
In an attempt to improve Villa’s resent form, under pressure boss Dean Smith made four changes from the defeat to Arsenal the week before. Kortney Hause replaced Tyrone Mings who dropped to the bench. Leon Bailey, Marvelous Nakamba and Jacob Ramsey were also handed starts.
Ben Johnson opened the scoring after just seven minutes when he turned Matt Targett inside out before firing a low drive into the bottom left-hand corner.
There weren’t many positives for the home side on the day although they did pull it level just after the half-hour mark. Emi Buendia with some good work managed to cross the ball from the byline and found Ollie Watkins who made it 1-1.
It took West Ham just four minutes to re-take the lead through Declan Rice with a low drive into the corner from the edge of the box.
Villa came close again through Watkins when he got on the end of a John McGinn cross but he was denied by the post. It then went from bad to worse for Villa when Ezri Konsa was shown a red card for bringing down Jarrod Bowen.
Smith was furious with the decision, especially after there was a worse foul moments before by Hause who brought down Pablo Fornals with his arm.
Villa looked a better side once they were down to 10-men but were left open to the counter-attack and it wasn’t long before West Ham killed the game off. First Fornals slotted home a tap in on the counter and then Bowen made it four following good work from Michail Antonio.
Villa now sits fifteenth, just three points above the relegation zone.
- Once again Villa looked un-organised all over the pitch. Defensively we have been woeful since John Terry departed in the summer, while the midfield was once again none existent.
- The lack of fight from the start was a big problem for me. There is no point having a go when you are behind and down to ten men. You need to come out fighting from the off. Too many times this season, Villa have not turned up.
- I don’t like to pick out players but Matt Targett looks to be really struggling at the moment. I am unsure if it’s the poor pre-season, the loss of his partner on the left Jack Grealish or as some have suggested, playing in front of fans. One thing is for sure, he was one of our best players last season, he is far from that at the moment.
- On-field squabbling. For the second game in a row, we have witnessed players arguing on the pitch. Something isn’t right behind the scenes. The close-knit bunch all of a sudden seem all over the place. What’s going on that we don’t know about?
- Is time running out for Dean Smith? Since the turn of the year, he has got it wrong more times than he has got it right. Fans are fast losing faith.
- I am really stretching here but the only real positive would be that it didn’t become the toxic atmosphere I expected. Regardless of what the future holds for our manager, he has done a good job for us and was the right man at the right time. It wouldn’t be nice to see it finish the way previous managers have finished. If he can’t turn things around, then I hope he goes without it getting nasty.
Friday, 5th November. 20.00 UK Time.
The pressure is well and truly on the manager and the players. I have already touched on more and more losing faith. With an international break following this game, it would be the perfect time for Villa to dismiss Smith if that was the path they decided so this game could be bigger in more than one way for Villa.