ASTON VILLA v WEST HAM UNITED
BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 8 FEBRUARY 2014
REFEREE: MIKE DEAN
FULL AUDIO AND TEXT COMMENTARY - WEST HAM TV
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PREVIEW I TACTICALLY SPEAKING
Final score - Aston Villa 0-2 West Ham United
94: Seconds remaining and Villa have a free-kick. Collins hacks clear and the final whistle is blown. What a fantastic result! Nolan's two goals just after half-time did the trick, but this win was about more than just Nolan's goals. It was yet another superb all-round team performance. That win lifts us up to 14th with the South Wales derby to come tonight. If Swansea draw, we will drop back down to 15th. But let's not concentrate on negatives. West Ham have secured back to back league wins for the first time this season. That's ten points out of 15 and seven out of the last nine for West Ham, who have a chance to really pull away from the bottom three if they can beat Norwich at home on Tuesday.
93: Borriello does well to win the ball from Baker, then crosses and the ball thuds off a defender and out for a corner. Time almost up on another fantastic away result. The corner comes to nothing. This will be a SEVENTH away clean sheet in 13 matches. That is OUTSTANDING.
92: Another Albrighton cross is dealt with. West Ham holding on strongly.
91: We are into four added minutes. Villa have a free-kick conceded by Borriello on halfway. Collins heads clear, Taylor heads on. Villa come again and Demel makes the block before Noble brings the ball out to halfway. That willm do.
89: Albrighton has been lively and he cuts inside and shoots left-footed. Too high. Goal kick. Yet again, for all the opposition's possession, the Hammers have protected Adrian's goal superbly so far.
88: West Ham have made 60 clearances in this game! Some 33 of them have been of the headed variety. Of Villa's 39 crosses, only five have found a team-mate.
87: Albrighton's cross is blocked by McCartney. Throw-in. Villa attack again, but Nocerino nicks the ball and clears to halfway. Finally, Albrighton's cross is headed down and wide by Baker. More Villa fans head for the exits.
86: Good news over the PA system that the trains to London are now running as normal after the earlier tree problems near Coventry. Great stuff. Borriello wins a free-kick inside the Villa half. Noble tries to pick out Taylor's run, but it's too strong. Goal kick.
85: Delph lifts a cross to the far post. Bennett attacks it, but his header flies well wide and into the stand. A few Villa fans have seen enough. It's not over yet.
83: Borriello wins a throw. West Ham work it to Nocerino, who drives in a low cross from the byline. Guzan can only get a hand to it, and Taylor's shot is blocked inside the six-yard box by Bacuna. That was goalbound. Borriello challenges for Downing's corner, but Villa clear.
82: Albrighton shoots left-footed and Tomkins heads out for a corner. That hurt! Albrighton takes and Benteke beats Collins to the ball but again heads wide of the far post. That was a great chance.
81: Today's attendance is 36,261. Of them, 3,030 have travelled up to support West Ham.
80: Corner to Villa off Tomkins from another Albrighton cross. The header into the danger area from Clark is acrobatically volleyed over by Benteke.
78: Demel is penalised for a push on Benteke. That looked soft. Free-kick 35 yards out on the Villa left. It's another pearler and comes off a West Ham head and bounces inches wide! Demel came close to the own-goal. From the corner, Benteke heads wide of the far post. This is agony!
77: I'm sure you're all aware of this, but Nolan is now West Ham's top scorer this season with six. That's five in six games since 28 December for Nolan. He's doing his best to make amends for those two red cards.
75: I have a feeling West Ham are going to have a lot of pressure to soak up here in the rain. The wind is also blowing in their faces too. Old-fashioned football!
73: Bertrand is replaced by Joe Bennett for Villa. Reid is on for Jarvis. So that's going to be three centre-backs for West Ham. Exactly what Big Sam did last week against Swansea...
72: Reid is back in the dugout sorting himself out. He will be on soon, I would think. Before then, Villa hit the woodwork again! This time it's Benteke whose header from Albrighton's cross loops onto the crossbar! West Ham hack the ball clear. Another escape.
71: Weimann is replaced by Grant Holt. He can put himself about.
71: West Ham have just one change left to make. Winston Reid is warming up alone, which would suggest he will be the man to come on, if anyone.
69: The Nocerino song is being sung already. It goes to the tune of 2 Unlimited's '90s classic dance track 'No Limit'. I'm showing my age there. I used to dance to that one at Duke's in Chelmsford back in the day.
68: Nolan is the man replaced. He hands the armband to Noble and applauds the travelling fans. Nocerino is on.
67: Nocerino is going to be on shortly, but not before Albrighton has hit the post with a piledriver! The ball comes back off the upright and hits Adrian before going behind for a corner. West Ham deal with it. That was so close to 2-1.
65: Taylor and Jarvis get themselves in a muddle in the midfield and Taylor ends up sliding in and fouling Agbonlahor. Taylor is booked. The free-kick comes to nothing, but Big Sam might consider replacing Taylor now he is playing on a yellow.
63: Bacuna crosses and Demel clears high into the stand. Villa come again and Albrighton's low cross is stabbed behind for a corner by McCartney. Baker wins Albrighton's delivery at the far post, but Adrian is there to catch high to his left.
62: As you might expect, West Ham have definitely sat back a bit since their two-goal salvo. Villa are having plenty of possession, working the ball from side to side, trying to force an opening.
60: Bacuna tries to whip one in this time, but again he gets under it and the ball flies out for a goal kick.
59: Albrighton has immediately given the home side a lift. He and Bacuna are combining well. However, the latest attack ends with a deep cross flying over everyone and out for a throw on the the far side.
57: Albrighton almost has an immediate impact, floating a delicious cross over Collins for Benteke. The striker is there ahead of Demel but cannot apply the finish with his right foot. Amazing. Goal kick.
56: Lowton replaced by Albrighton. Bacuna to right-back, Albrighton to right wing.
54: The West Ham fans are making all the noise on the far side. Behind me, there are some groans from the Villa faithful. Noble tries to send Borriello away, but the Italian has to check his run and Guzan is out to clean up.
52: The Italian is involved again, collecting on halfway, spinning and finding a team-mate before Jarvis wins a throw near the corner flag. Decent link-up play from West Ham. A third goal would surely end this as a contest, but Villa came back from 2-0 down to win 4-3 against West Brom in their last home game. Nothing is sorted yet.
50: Borriello played a part in that second goal. His pass for Jarvis was poked inside to Delph by a stretching Lowton and allowed Nolan to close down the midfielder and make it 2-0.
48: GOAL! NOLAN! Delph loses out to Nolan on the edge of his own box and the skipper is in on goal. He makes absolutely no mistake, sliding the shot wide of Guzan's left hand and into the bottom corner. An amazing start to the second half for West Ham.
46 mins and 18 seconds: GOAL! NOLAN! The long ball forward from the kick-off holds up in the wind. Nolan pokes it wide to Downing, who teases Bertrand and crosses low and Nolan flicks the ball with his heel. It hits a sliding Clark on the leg and loops beyond the grasp of Guzan. What a start to the second half!
The second half is going to start in sheeting rain. It is, quite frankly, horrible here at Villa Park. West Ham are going to bring on Marco Borriello for his debut! Cole will be the man replaced.
Half-time score - Aston Villa 0-0 West Ham United
Put simply, I am not sure how West Ham aren't ahead here. They have been dominant for long periods and created a host a decent chances, most notably those two which fell to Jarvis when through on goal. Let's hope the Hammers don't live to regret their profligacy as they did in the corresponding fixture last season. Join us again in ten minutes or so for the second half.
46: Into one minute of added time and Cole gets in behind from Nolan's flick. His cross is headed out from inside the six-yard box. West Ham still have time for one more attack which ends with Downing's cross behind headed out for a corner. Again, it comes to nothing and Villa clear. Their counter-attack is ended by the half-time whistle.
45: Taylor crosses from Jarvis's lay-off. The ball lands at the feet of Downing. He tries to make space for a shot but instead runs into the area where more Villa defenders are stationed. His shot is blocked. Villa clear.
42: Nolan gives the ball away in midfield, Bertrand comes forward down the left and crosses. McCartney's header only reaches Westwood on the edge of the box. He shoots first-time, low and a yard or two wide. Close call.
40: Collins slides in on Benteke and is booked just seconds after Cole should have had a free-kick for pulling by Baker. Collins is booked. That should have been a free-kick to West Ham. No doubt. Anyway. Collins will need to be careful now.
38: Controversial moment as Jarvis puts the ball out as he believes Cole is injured. Cole gets back to his feet as he does so and Villa keep the ball from the throw-in. Hmmm... Anyway, Benteke soon gives it back to the Hammers. McCartney gets forward down the left, but crosses high into the hands of Guzan.
36: Adrian hasn't had much to do, but he is out smartly here to clear into the stand as Weimann chases a through ball. Villa appear to have weathered the storm somewhat.
33: Delph induces an 'Ooooh' from the home fans as he collects a pass and drives a shot in from 30 yards that fades a yard or two wide of the left-hand upright. Goal kick.
31: The home fans are really frustrated. West Ham need to take a chance here as they are right on top. Nolan beats the offside trap this time, crosses low for Cole and Clark clears for another corner. That's West Ham's sixth corner, but it comes to nothing like the previous five.
29: Another chance! Jarvis is sent clear again and beats the offside trap. He is beyond the back four and should hit the target, but instead stabs his shot high and wide of the left-hand post.
28: Another chance! Nolan slides another pass through for Jarvis, who is too fast for Lowton. He drives himself a little wide and Clark makes a fine block to concede the corner. That's another good opportunity that has gone. The corner is cleared and Villa break and win a corner.
26: Another half-chance as Taylor seizes on a loose clearance, controls inside the box and drills a low cross-shot into the six-yard box, which Guzan does well to hold onto low to his left.
24: What a chance! A fantastic pass through between Baker and Lowton sends Jarvis away. He crosses low and Downing is there, but somehow he completely misses the ball from six yards out. Bertrand was there too, but that looks like a fantastic opportunity that has gone begging.
23: Patient passing from Villa down their left involving Delph, Bertrand and Weimann. Westwood collects and lofts a cross into the arms of Adrian.
21: Decent interplay involving Downing and Demel down the right. Demel crosses high and Nolan heads down, but there is nobody there to collect in a white shirt and Villa clear their lines.
19: McCartney down the left touchline for Jarvis, who wins another corner! He floats it high and Guzan collects before bowling out a superb ball for Weimann on the left. He picks out Agbonlahor in the middle, but the captain's touch lets him down badly and Taylor is able to usher the ball out for a goal kick. Great work back from Taylor.
18: West Ham still pressing and McCartney wins yet another corner off Delph, this time on the far side. It is cleared and Villa spring out, but McCartney is there. He half-volleys the ball forward again, but Downing is just offside.
17: Cole wins another free-kick. This one is taken short and West Ham work it forward before Downing wins a corner from a Bertrand challenge. The corner again produces some pinball but no effort on goal.
16: Cole battles well and wins a free-kick on halfway. Collins lifts it into the box and Guzan rises high to claim in a crowd of bodies.
14: Downing has a go after Cole's knockdown had been helped on to him by Nolan. Downing cuts inside Bertrand and curls a shot that flies a few yards past the angle of far post and crossbar. Ironic cheers from the home fans.
12: Collins steps out of defence and wins the ball before playing Cole away down the right. He runs 40 yards or so and wins a corner off Baker. The corner is deep from Downing and some head tennis ensues before Mr Dean spots an infringement. Free-kick to Villa.
11: This is one of those grounds where litter blows around on the pitch when it is windy. At present, two carrier bags are standing in an offside position in the Villa half. Two more are in thje West Ham half. Villa probing for an opening as West Ham sit back and soak up the pressure...
9: There is a strong wind blowing down the ground which is at West Ham's backs at present. The through balls are going to have to be well judged by the visitors. Villa come forward with Delph, whose low shot hits Agbonlahor standing near the penalty spot. He can't control and Collins clears for a throw.
8: Downing collects a loose clearing header and ries to play in Cole, but Clark is across to clear. McCartney and retrieves and Jarvis then tries to play in Cole again, but he's offside and the ball rolls away anyhow.
7: The rain is sheeting down now. That didn't take long!
5: It's 4-3-1-2 from Villa, with Weimann supporting Benteke and Agbolahor. Bertrand gets forward down the left and wins a corner off Demel. Westwood takes and Cole heads clear. Villa cross again and Demel heads behind. West Ham deal with the second corner to the far post and Taylor is fouled as he clears. Well defended.
4: A first shot of the game from about 35 yards out by Delph, who sees his effort blocked. Villa follow up and try to release Agbonlahor down the left, but the pass is overhit and goes away for a goal kick.
3: Downing gets at Lowton, crosses low and the ball hits the full-back and goes behind for a corner. Jarvis takes and Tomkins rises at the far post and heads wide. Not a bad chance, that, but he was under pressure.
2: Downing is wide left and Jarvis wide right. Downing is jeered by some of the home fans when he takes his first touch. A bit harsh! Anyway, he then gets caught offside and Villa have a free-kick.
1: A long straight through ball from the kick-off is collected by Adrian. He fires the ball upfield and Clark heads back to Guzan.
3pm - Weimann and Bacuna start the game...
2.59pm - Here we go then, once referee Mike Dean has done his shoelaces up!
2.56pm - Here they come, led by captains Nolan and Agbonlahor. It is COLD! The sun has almost disappeared. West Ham are in their change strip of white shirts, sky blue shorts and white socks. Villa are in their home kit of claret and blue shirts, white shorts and claret and blue socks. Villa to kick-off...
2.55pm - The teams are in the tunnel...
2.50pm - I seem to remember that Villa Park fills up late, but the train issues will surely mean that a large number of supporters will not make it here for kick-off. It now appears that services between Birmingham and Aston have also been affected by the tree falling on the line. The Claret and Blue Army are still here in big numbers, though, and making plenty of noise!
2.45pm - The Hammers have headed back in to their dressing room, while Villa have just finished their own warm-up. It's chilly and clouding over here, although the rain has stopped for now. I suspect we might see some more precipitation before the game is out, though. Before kick-off, why not view our exclusive Facebook gallery, where you can see dozens of exclusive images from here at Villa Park.
2.30pm - We understand the train services between London and Birmingham have been affected by a train falling on the line. The obstruction has now been removed, but it will obviously take some time for services to return to normal. We hope everyone travelling up gets here in time to see as much of the game as possible. Our West Ham TV cameraman and another member of the media team are among those stuck.
2.10pm - The team news is in... West Ham make just one change from the side which defeated Swansea, replacing the suspended Carroll with Carlton Cole, as expected. Villa make replace the injured Vlaar and Holt with Lowton and the fit-again Agbonlahor. West Ham will play 4-3-3, but I'm not sure about Villa. It could be 5-3-2, with Weimann advanced of Westwood and Delph in midfield and Agbonlahor supporting Benteke. Or Lowton or Bacuna could play on the right of midfield? I really don't know.
West Ham United: Adrian, Demel, McCartney, Collins, Tomkins, Noble, Taylor, Nolan (c), Jarvis, Downing, C.Cole
Subs: Jaaskelainen, Reid, Johnson, Armero, Collison, Nocerino, Borriello
Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Bacuna, Baker, Clark, Bertrand, Westwood, Delph, Agbonlahor, Weimann, Benteke
Subs: Steer, Bennett, El Ahmadi, Helenius, Albrighton, Sylla, Holt
1.50pm - So, just ten minutes until the team news is confirmed. Will any of the January signings make their full debuts here? Or will Sam stick with the ten players - minus Carroll - who started against Swansea a week ago? Guess your starting XI now on Twitter using #WHULINEUP and you could win a signed item!
1.45pm - Villa manager Paul Lambert and captain Ron Vlaar have both been writing about the challenge of facing West Ham in today's Programme.
Lambert: "We know this will be yet another serious challenge for the team against a strong side with their own motivations for success."
Vlaar: "Even without Andy Carroll, the Hammers are a team who fight for every point. They underlined that in their recent 0-0 draw at Chelsea and last week's victory over Swansea City will have given them another boost."
1.35pm - The Hammers have arrived at Villa Park and Matt Taylor stopped for a quick chat with Premier League Productions on his way into the ground. He insists Andy Carroll's absence will not distract West Ham from the task at hand this afternoon, or against Norwich City on Tuesday evening:
"[The Andy Carroll situation] has obviously been a hindrance but I wouldn't suggest it has disrupted our preparations for the game. Our manager has set us up today to come here and get a result and, while everything that has happened with Andy is disappointing for us, we have to put that to the back of our minds and I'm sure Carlton will deputise well for him.
"We have a few important games coming up now, including home games we believe we can take points from. Obviously we realise it's going to be hard work to do that so, starting today, it's going to be a battle and we need to make sure we get something.
"It's is unbelievable how compact the table is below tenth position, so we know we have a game today and another game at home to Norwich on Tuesday that we can take points from, and if we can do that then I believe we can be well on the way to looking above us, rather than at what is below us."
Good afternoon and welcome to a windy and wild Villa Park for today's Barclays Premier League fixture between Aston Villa and West Ham United.
The Hammers arrive in the West Midlands in confident form after drawing 0-0 at Chelsea and beating Swansea City 2-0 at home in their previous two league games. Prior to that, West Ham also won 2-0 at Cardiff City, meaning Big Sam's side have kept three clean sheets in their last four games, with only a 3-1 home defeat by Newcastle United in that period to blot the copybook.
Victory over the Swans left the Hammers 18th in the Premier League on 22 points, five points behind Saturday's opponents. Villa come into the game having won just one of their last seven home matches, but that did come in their last home game, a 4-3 thriller against local rivals West Bromwich Albion. Villa lost 2-1 at Everton a week ago, having gone ahead, to leave them tenth in the table with 27 points.
West Ham will need to buck their recent trend of results at Villa Park, however, as the visitors are looking to record an away win at Villa for the first time since a 2-1 success in January 2006. The Hammers returned to the same stadium three months later to defeat Middlesbrough 1-0 in the FA Cup semi-final, however.
Team news-wise, West Ham will be without Joey O'Brien (dislocated shoulder), Joe Cole (calf), Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder/knee) and Mohamed Diame (leg), while Andy Carroll starts a three-match suspension following his sending-off at home to Swansea.Aston Villa. In Carroll's absence, former Villa loanee Carlton Cole or new boy Marco Borriello could lead the line. In midfield, Antonio Nocerino could be in line for his first start, while Colombia international Pablo Armero is pushing for a start at left-back.
For Paul Lambert, England forward Gabriel Agbonlahor is expected to return following a two-match absence with a foot injury, but skipper Ron Vlaar is likely to miss the game with a hamstring problem.
We will have the confirmed team news for you at just after 2pm. In the meantime, we have plenty of exclusive coverage for you on our social media platforms, while you can also enter our matchday Twitter competitions #WHULINEUP and #WHUGOAL.