It has been sixteen days since Aston Villa lost at Selhurst Park to Crystal Palace. One thing you want to do after a defeat is to return to winning ways as quickly as possible. We finally get that opportunity when West Ham United visit Villa Park tonight.
Dean Smith will know that Villa’s honeymoon period is well and truly over following promotion in the summer. They need to start picking up points, especially at Villa Park.
West Ham believes they could break into the top six this season and they have picked up 7 points from a possible 12. They have conceded 7 so far this season so I do believe goals can be scored from Villa, although 5 of those came against Manchester City. The Hammers picked up their first clean sheet in a 2-0 win over Norwich before the international break.
Manuel Pellegrini has stated that this is a game that West Ham needs to be winning. He forgets to mention that it is also a game that Aston Villa need to win.
Jonathan Kodjia has been ruled out of action for three weeks after fracturing his cheekbone. The striker picked up the injury in training and Smith hopes Villa can find a mask option to aid a quicker return.
James Chester has returned to training and Villa are hopeful that he could be available for selection in three weeks. Marvelous Nakamba and Henri Lansbury are both pushing for a start.
West Ham will be without Michael Antonio and Winston Reid. Reid is still out with a long term knee injury while Antonio has surgery on a hamstring injury over the International break.
WHAT DID THE MANAGERS SAY
Dean Smith: “They’re itching for that next game. There’s a burning desire from them to right the wrongs. I can sense that.
“The international break has given us an opportunity. For instance, we’ve been able to work a lot on our breakthrough opportunities as all of our forward players have been here.”
Manuel Pellegrini: “Last season we lost against the teams around us. Now we will see as Aston Villa has a good team and a difficult stadium but we will go there and try to win.
“They have a lot of attacking players and a manager who wants to play in an attacking style but they must adapt.”
HEAD TO HEAD
Kick-Off: 8 pm
TV: Monday Night Football
Tickets: Sold Out
Referee: Mike Dean
Assistant Referees: Darren Cann and Dan Robathan
Fourth Official: Andy Madley
VAR: Martin Atkinson
Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday