A win at Upton Park would do very nicely indeed. West Ham were one of the teams that seemed to be gathering a little momentum as the fixtures drew thinner, but this appears to have evaporated in recent weeks. A heavy 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Bolton last time out leaves the trapdoor ajar for Avram Grant’s men.
Villa go to Upton Park in much better shape. A strong performance away at Everton and a comfortable victory over Newcastle will have done much for the confidence after Villa seemed intent on dragging themselves into a dogfight. After all of that effort, and the overall improvements on the field, it would be something of a surprise to end up on the losing side.
West Ham’s only potent goal threat comes in the form of Carlton Cole. Cole, who Villa fans no doubt remember has all of the attributes of a great striker *ahem* – however – his goal per game ratio leaves much to be desired. He should be in Richard Dunne’s pocket all afternoon.
The rest of the West Ham squad would not inspire confidence if I was a hammer fan. The Hitzlespergers of this world are no more than average Premiership at best – and whilst he’s loaded with a punishing shot, his lack of pace and inability to break up the play render his centre midfield role a puzzle to all whom study him.
The BBC report that Scott Parker (the Aldi version of Lampard?) is 50/50 to play and that Kieron Dyer could feature having recently been out on loan at Ipswich. The latter pretty much sums up the state of affairs as West Ham attempt to find points in the season run in.
Villa go into the game in a much more relaxed fashion sitting 5 points ahead of our opponents. Our attacking threat is excellent and the thought of Makoun and Petrov forging a centre midfield partnership is mouthwatering. The defence remains everyone’s biggest concern – but Dunne and Luke Young put in solid showings against Newcastle. Things could be a lot worse – and they have been!
A win would see Villa flirt with the dizzying heights of mid-table, attain 40 points for the season and see a number of players make bookings for their summer holidays in the knowledge that Premiership football is assured.
Prediction Corner from @avfc_vilr: 2-0 to Villa.