Aston Villa v West Ham: Premier League – live | Premier League
Paqueta, pinned inside his own half, again rolls studs over the ball, looking to keep possession and build. But instead, he puts Alvarez into trouble, and when Konsa bursts by him, the desperate slide to which he’d already committed hands over a tame penalty.
49 min I love Diaby’s partnership with Watkins – every time he has the ball, he looks for his mate, and after drifting wide, he crosses low, Zouma doing brilliantly to dart across his man and prevent him shooting.
49 min And as soon as I hit save, Carragher tells us Moyes has pulled Soucek further back, I think with Paqueta in behind Antonio.
48 min Now that you ask, I’d take off Soucek and bring on Kudus. I’d also think about putting Ward-Prowse onto the right and Bowen up top, matching Vill’a’s 4-4-2.
46 min Moyes might just’ve told his players to play better, but given how Villa are at the moment, I doubt that’ll be enough. West Ham have the players to hurt them, but they’re not currently doing everything possible to exploit that.
46 min We go again…
Our players return…
“The only person I can think of worse than Fernandes to spend an evening with would be C Ronaldo,” returns Richard Hirst. “Oh, and Grealish of course.”
I know Fernandes moans when he’s on the pitch, but those of us who know him off the pitch know he’s a great talker about the game – he gives a two-hour interview to the official Man United pod that’s excellent – and his commitment to making sport of his mates is excellent.
Half-time email: “A drink with Ronaldo could lead to one of the best nights of your life,” reckons Jastin Kavanagh. “Assuming you were with the Brazilian, of course. The Portugeezer, on the other hand … ah, I’m washing what’s left of my hair tonight, thanks all the same, mate.”
I daresay Ronaldinho also knows where to get the best caipirinhas.
West Ham started alright, but after 15 minutes or so Villa took over and they’ve controlled most of what’s happened since.
45+2 min West Ham need to change something, and I wonder if Moyes might sacrifice Soucek, who’s offering little in free play, to get Kudus involved.
45 min We’ll have two added minutes.
44 min “Being a Scot, I’d favour John McGinn of my countrymen and perhaps also Andy Robertson if you were feeling like a lively one,” offers Tony Barr, which reminds me Darren Fletcher is another Iwith whom I’d willingly exchange tales.
42 min But this is nice! Villa can’t get the ball clear and west Ham win a throw down the right, sent to Ward-Prowse who, on the edge, scoops a delectable pass over the defence and Paqueta is there, vaulting into an overhead! But with the ball on his weaker right foot, he can’t introduce laces to leather and a chance that looked difficult but, for a player of Paqueta’s ability ought to have been taken, vanishes.
41 min We wait a while as the wall lines up, draught excluder in situ; I’ve not a clue how players resist temptation to just luz it a prone opponent. But Ward-Prowse manages, curling into the top of the wall, and West Ham have created almost nothing this half.
39 min West Ham have been quiet, and wehen they win a free-kick down the left, Ward-Prowse picks out Alvarez on the edge and he shoots first time, Konsa diving into a slide and blocking ball with hands. He’s outside the box, just.
39 min Tangentially, why do people wear three-piece syoots to attend football matches? I may be missing something.
38 min Villa, of course, have a set-piece coach – the splendidly-named Austin MacPhee.
36 min …no he won’t! He and Digne run past the ball, Kamara feeds it in, Watkins lays back … and Luiz drives wide.
35 min What I love about watching developing teams is that moment they realise yeah, we’re alright at this. Villa have that now, and they win a free-kick 25 yards out, fractionally left of centre; Diaby will take…
34 min “Tim Ream strikes me as an interesting, thoughtful person,” offers Richard Hirst, “as long as we don’t have to drink American beer!”
I’ll get pelters for saying this – justifiably so and for various reasons – but Bruno Fernandes is probably the first player of whom I’d thought yeah, if I knew you, we’d be mates. For avoidance of doubt: I don’t know him and we are not mates.
32 min Villa step it up, Watkins roaming between the lines, exchanging passes with Diaby and ducking outside his man down the right of the box, shooting low and hard; Areola tips away down at the foot of his near post.
Six league games on the spin! As soon as Diaby drops off, West Ham are struggling, Watkins feeding Zaniolo by the corner flag and moving on, accepting a return-pass near the left corner of the box. He might have a dig himself, but instead curls the outside of his right boot around the near side of the ball, forcing a no-look pass into the stride of Luiz, on the edge, and he drills low, hard and inside the near post for yet another home goal! Areola might’ve saved that, but an aggravating deflection made his job a fair bit harder.
29 min Villa have looked most dangerous with Diaby on the ball and he drops off again, feeding Watkins and moving boxwards…
28 min We’ve not seen much of Zaniolo yet but here he is now, veering away from Ward-Prowse and streaking clear of Coufal, but his cross is cleared.
26 min I’d go for a pint with Michail Antonio, he’ll be delighted to learn. Which other footballers would be decent company over a sherbet or two?
24 min I know Moyes like a reactive game, but with Alvarez, Ward-Prowse, Paqueta, Soucek and Bowen in his midfield, you can’t help but wonder if there’s a more effective way. The first three in particular have the brains and feet to move the ball better than most but currently they’re feeding off scraps.
22 min West Ham clear the corner only for Cash and Konsa to tidy up their counter, then Villa start passing again. It’s taken a while, but it feels like the pattern of this game is now set, the home side scheming and the visitors enjoying the challenge of stopping them.
20 min Kamara swaggers forward and scoops over the top, forcing Aguerd to stick the ball behind; he’s pretty handy in a rearguerd and he’s a corner to defending now, Diaby dinking a cross-kick to the line where Konsa wins a corner.
18 min Yeah, Villa are coming now, McGinn finding Diaby – coming onto a game – down the right; his cross is blocked behind, then the corner goes short and Bowen blocks the attempted cross.
16 min Villa are in the match now! Kamara snaps a lovely reverse-pass into the west Ham box for Digne, whose cut-back is intercepted, just, then Diaby drives into Watkins, whose first touch is luscious – it enables him to spin his man and, in front of goal, he must score! But instead, he hits the top rather than middle of the ball, dragging a shank wide of the far post. What an oversight!
15 min In other kit news, West Ham are in baby blue shorts; I’m not sure they’re much use at hiding the dirt, which is so of Villa’s white ones too, but there’s something more egregious about the coloured ones.
14 min West Ham are the better team here, moving the ball from right to centre and Bowen shifting it one more to create the angle for a shot … which he doesn’t catch properly, the ball dribbling through to Martinez.