Villa will face West Ham in the late Sunday kick-off, looking to arrest a disconcerting slump in recent form.
Whilst the seasoned supporter won’t be distracted by the knee jerkism of social media commentary, Dean Smith certainly won’t want to see Villa fall to a fourth straight defeat. It would bring unwanted questions and scrutiny at a time when the club needs to focus upon putting points on the board.
Smith though, as previously noted following the Arsenal defeat, must take the steps to address some of the glaring tactical and game-management issues observed already this season.
The Hammers come to Villa Park in good form. Whilst many still regard them as a surprise challengers amongst the top end of the division, David Moyes has quietly been building an organised and dangerous outfit. The incremental improvements in both West Ham’s playing style and personnel have seen them deservedly rise to 4th spot.
Villa have the opportunity to reset the narrative on an underwhelming season to date by putting in a performance on home turf. Off the back of recent defeats, described as ‘feeble‘ by one national newspaper, the pace and flair of Leon Bailey must surely be injected.Embed from Getty Images
Smith needs now to also make key decisions about the Watkins/Ings partnership, go back to what worked defensively and deploy key figures (i.e. Buendia) in the roles for which they’re known to flourish.
A further defeat would only serve to fuel any doubts amongst supporters invested in the vision that Villa’s third season would produce much more. However, and perhaps more importantly, it might also begin to raise eyebrows within the clubs hierarchy, for whom languishing at the wrong end of the Premier League table will quite obviously not represent progression.
- West Ham are 4th in the PL on 17 points.
- The visitors are just 5pts behind PL leaders Chelsea.
- Villa are currently 15th on 10 points.
- Villa have lost to Arsenal, Spurs & Wolves in the last 3.
- Villa have conceded 8 times in the last 3 fixtures.
- West Ham haven’t lost to Villa since 2015.
- The Hammers have won their last 4 (all comps).
- Sanson, Philogene-Bidace & Trezeuet are injured.
- Leon Bailey’s fitness is being ‘managed’.
- Martinez is back from Argentina having travelled for personal reasons.
- Keinan Davis is match fit and may feature on the bench.
- Rice & Antonio were rested by West Ham in the Cup midweek.
- Kick off: 4:30pm (GMT)
- Venue: Villa Park