Aston Villa v West Ham Predictions- What do the media pundits think?

Premier League football returns after the international break, with West Ham in action on Monday night against newly promoted Aston Villa. Manuel Pellegrini’s side will be looking for their fourth consecutive win across all competitions at Villa Park after having beaten Watford, Newport and Norwich in straight succession last month.

Ref watch: The referee for this game is Mike Dean. In Villa’s last season in the top flight before this one (2015/16), Dean was in charge of six of their games. They lost five of those six, and the only team against whom the Midlands outfit picked up points, as you might expect, were West Ham!

Villa will be without the key duo of Jonathan Kodjia and Trezeguet, with the former injured and the latter suspended. Here is what the big media pundits have predicted for this Round 5 clash.

Mark Lawrenson: Lawro reckons this will be a close one, but expects Villa to make their “home advantage count”. Also says Dean Smith’s men will be up for this one after having their late equaliser against Crystal Palace disallowed.

Lawro has predicted a 2-1 win for Villa. His celeb opponents this weekend- the trio of Chelcee Grimes, Craig Mitch and Reece Parkinson however don’t expect the home side to emerge victorious, with Chelcee (2-2) and Reece (1-1) both expecting draws and Craig predicting a 2-1 win for the Hammers.

Charlie Nicholas: Over at Sky, Nicholas has made a slightly controversial statement, saying that “people are far too excited about Declan Rice“, and reckons Wilshere and Noble will be back in the starting line up. He also says he likes “what Villa have at the moment” and like Lawro, has gone for a 2-1 AVFC win. [Read more…]

Fantastic Felipe, First home goal for Yarmolenko, Cantwell miss, Haller penalty not given & more- Talking Points from West Ham v Norwich

West Ham secured their first home win of the 2019/20 Premier League season as they beat newly promoted Norwich City 2-0 at the London Stadium. The goals came from Sebastien Haller and Andriy Yarmolenko as the Hammers moved into the top half of the table in their last game before the international break.

Here are our talking points from the fixture.

Fantastic Felipe Anderson: Many will consider the second half as one of West Ham’s best ever attacking performances at the London Stadium, and Felipe Anderson was at the heart of it. The Brazilian troubled Norwich all afternoon and was virtually unplayable. West Ham went from 4 attempts at the end of the first half to 18 at full time. They only won 2-0, but on another day, it could very easily have been 5 or 6-0 to the home side.

First goal for Andriy Yarmolenko at the London Stadium: We had criticised Andriy Yarmolenko for his poor performance last weekend against Watford and for fifty minutes today, it appeared that nothing much had changed. All the Ukrainian had to show for his first half efforts was a couple of theatrical falls in the opposition box that amounted to nothing, and even the commentators called his performance “weary”

He however turned it around in the 56th minute with a well taken volley that sealed the game for the Hammers. A minute before the goal, he had hit an even better volley, but was denied by the woodwork.

His celebration with the physios and medical staff (Dom Rogan and co.) after the goal was heart warming- it showed how hard they had worked with him after last season’s horror injury. [Read more…]

Media Player Ratings for West Ham against Watford- Haller excellent, Yarmolenko disappointing

Here is a look at the how major papers rated West Ham’s players in their game against Watford on Saturday. The Hammers defied the pre-game predictions of several pundits by emerging 3-1 winners at Vicarage Road.

Sebastien Haller was the star of the show for the visitors, with his two goals sinking the Hornets after a sustained spell of pressure from the home side after the interval had come to nothing. One of the papers even had “Hallerlujah” as their headline for this fixture. The French international also became the Hammers’ first TOTW representative this season. [Read more…]

West Ham star named in Premier League Team of the Week for Round 3

We didn’t have a single West Ham player feature in any pundit’s Team of the Week for the previous two rounds, but the club do finally have a representative in Round 3, thanks to their upset win over Watford at Vicarage Road.

That player is club record signing Sebastien Haller, who scored twice (including a bicycle kick) to open his Premier League account for the Hammers.

Haller appears in virtually every pundit’s Team of the Week. No other West Ham player features though- perhaps a reflection on the shaky nature of the Hammers defence and the number of chances the Hornets had, but didn’t take! [Read more…]

100th Premier League away win, poor afternoon for Yarmolenko, Miss of the Season contender & more- Five Talking Points from Watford vs West Ham

West Ham claimed their first win of the 2019/20 Premier League season and condemned Javi Gracia’s Watford to a third successive defeat as they ran out surprise 3-1 winners at Vicarage Road. Here are our talking points from the game.

100th Premier League away win & first in August since 2016: Not only was this West Ham’s 100th Premier League win on the road, it was also their first win in August in nearly three years. The Hammers, perhaps not helped by their opening fixture list in recent years (the last six seasons have all started against big name opposition) have often struggled to get going in the first month of the new season. Today was their first victory in August since a solitary Michail Antonio goal gave them victory against Bournemouth on 21 August, 2016.

None of the pre-match predictions had the Hammers winning. Four points on the road from Brighton and Watford will be highly satisfying for Manuel Pellegrini, especially given West Ham’s struggles away from home against mid table opposition in recent years.

A forgettable afternoon for Andriy Yarmolenko: The Ukranian was given his first start in the Premier League since October 2018, and didn’t quite make the most of it.

There were three major moments in the first half involving Yarmolenko- one where he could’ve ensured that Felipe Anderson’s header went in, but for some bizarre reason, simply chose to stand there, letting Watford off the hook. The second was when the Hornets scored their opening goal, with Yarmolenko guilty of ignoring his defensive duties, jogging back slowly as Watford attacked on his flank. The third was when 35 year old left back Jose Holebas beat him for pace and nearly set up a goal for the home side, forcing Pellegrini to temporarily switch Felipe Anderson to the right wing.

Yarmolenko was subbed off at half time, with Antonio taking his place. [Read more…]