West Ham V Aston Villa - Head-to-head

Tomas Repka Olof Mellberg APPEARANCESMinutes on pitch680 720 GOAL ATTEMPTSGoals0 0 DEFENDINGBlocks11 6 Headed Clearances69 47 Other Clearances44 21 Interceptions5 3 Tackles Won9 17 PASSINGPassing Accuracy %76% 80% DISCIPLINEFouls17 7 Yellow Cards0 1 Red Cards2 0 OPTA INDEX SCORE784 798 First Goalscorer Odds40/1 50/1 Secure, tax-free online betting with surreySPORTS.co.uk Tomas Repka Olof Mellberg

Hammers boss Glenn Roeder and Aston Villa's manager John Gregory both shopped abroad for new defenders in the summer.

Roeder returned from Fiorentina with £5.5 million Czech stopper Tomas Repka while Gregory bought in Sweden international Olof Mellberg from relegated Spanish club Racing Santander for a fee of £5 million.

Both should prove to be quality additions to the squads of their respective clubs, even though Repka's opening months in England have been somewhat disrupted by suspension and Mellberg's by injury. But the duo were both in action last weekend and adding to their impressive array of stats.

Twenty-seven-year-old Repka has averaged 14 clearances per game in the early stages of his Upton Park career and has proved his ability to play the ball accurately out from the back by completing 76% of his passes.

Mellberg meanwhile, has shown himself to be an expert tackler, winning possession for the Villans with 81% of the 21 challenges he has gone in for. The 24-year-old also has an exemplary disciplinary record and has conceded less than a foul a game on average.

Although neither player has managed to score yet for their new teams, Roeder and Gregory will not be too concerned as long as they continue to produce such excellent displays in defence.

Mellberg has the added bonus of the World Cup Finals to look forward to next summer and some great encounters with England, Sweden and Argentina in Japan. Meanwhile West Ham defender, Repka did not have so much good fortune in qualifying for the World Cup as the Czech Republic crashed out to Belgium in the play-offs.

Repka was sent off during the first leg as in Brussels and his nation's failure to qualify leaves him able to concentrate solely on his new career with the Hammers. And if you think that the former Fiorentina man can be part of a side that inflicts Villa's second defeat in a row put a few quid on 11/8 with surreySPORTS.

Will Rickson