Barclays Premier League
Aston Villa v West Ham United
Saturday 14 August 2010
Referee: Mike Dean
Aston Villa 3-0 West Ham United
Avram Grant saw the new Barclays Premier League get off to the worst possible start with a resounding 3-0 defeat away to Aston Villa.
Goals from Stewart Downing, Stiliyan Petrov and James Milner did the damage on a miserable Midlands afternoon. The Hammers gave league debuts to Winston Reid and second-half substitutes Frederic Piquionne and Pablo Barrera but were always second best to a rampaging Villa inspired by Ashley Young and Marc Albrighton.
After a torrid opening when James Tomkins nearly scored an own goal with an effort that crashed against the post and a succession of home corners, Downing and Petrov scored quickly to put Villa in a commanding position. The interval saw Grant reshuffle his pack and the Hammers had their brightest spell just after the restart.
However, after near misses for Julien Faubert and Piquionne, Villa sealed the win with a thunderous strike from Milner. Despite the scoreline and the wet weather, the Hammers fans never relented with their support and singing. It is to be hoped they will be rewarded with better at home to Bolton Wanderers next Saturday.
90min - Barrera wins a corner with a deflected shot. It comes to nothing and Diamanti wins another with a deflected effort of his own. Noble then lashes one wide after finding space to shoot from range.
90min - We are playing three minutes of added time. Carew lashes for goal but it soars over. The Hammers fans are heading away having not tasted victory on their travels since the opening day a year ago.
88min - Diamanti has a go and it is deflected wide. Reid nearly meets it but Villa manage to hack it away. Eventually the ball reaches Barrera and his shot is sliced wide. Villa star man Albrighton is replaced by Barry Bannan.
87min - Another Villa change. This time Ashley Young departs from Andreas Weimann.
85min - Parker has a go from distance but his shot soars over. Milner is coming off, to be replaced by Nigel Reo-Coker.
83min - Villa are still looking for a fourth. It is more likely than a Hammers first.
81min - Reid helps Green out with a clearance after the keeper thought the ball had run out of play.
78min - Villa thought they had scored four then but the offside flag went up just as Carew and Young threatened.
76min - Another big miss. Carew heads wide from Petrov's cross. The Norway striker was totally unmarked. There are 36,604 people here today.
73min - Tomkins is off and Alessandro Diamanti is on. His first contribution is to concede a foul after a Hammers corner went astray.
72min - Villa are keeping the ball here and it is proving hard for the Hammers to win it back.
69min - Albrighton is fouled again. Another free-kick sees Green produce a great save again. There has been little the England keeper could do today to stop the Villa surges.
66min - GOAL! - Albrighton torments Tomkins in the right-back position before squaring for Milner to lash the bal beyond Green.
63min - Diamanti continues to warm up as Downing is denied at the back post by Ilunga's well-timed lunge. Villa knock the ball out as Ashley Young is down.
61min - Another caution. This time for Faubert after a late one on Clark.
60min - A yellow card for Tomkins after a foul on Carew. Ashley Young is the one down, however.
58min - Noble does brilliantly to deny Ashley Young after another quick break. Villa are still a major threat.
56min - This is end to end stuff. Both teams are going for it. Villa get a corner after a quick break but it comes to nothing.
55min - What a miss. Fantastic play from Piquionne and Cole sees Faubert find the ball at his feet from about ten yards out. The French attacker cannot direct it on target though and sees the ball go agonisingly wide.
54min - Tomkins connects with Ilunga's crossfield ball. It was a great volley but Friedel had it covered.
54min - Piquionne goes down under a challenge from Carew.
53min - Great tackle from Tomkins denies Carewwe.
51min - Albrighton pulls back Barrera and earns a yellow card. Ilunga wins a corner after a delightful little pass through from Barrera.
49min - Piquionne does well to get to the byline. He pulls it back but Clark clears before it can reach Barrera. From Noble's corner, Tomkins rises highest but cannot direct his header on target. The weather has turned nasty here with thunder and lightening.
48min - Villa nearly make it three. Downing curls a free-kick from a central position and it clatters against Green's crossbar.
46min - Good interplay there finishes with Piquionne firing over from 25 yards. That's more like it.
46min - Frederic Piquionne and Pablo Barrera are on for Radoslav Kovac and Luis Boa Morte.
Half-time: Aston Villa 2-0 West Ham United
45min - Noble's chance comes to nothing and the referee blows for half-time after two added minutes.
44min - Noble is brought down in a central position. Free-kick chance from 25 yards. He is standing over it.
41min - Luis Boa Morte should have pulled one back. Faubert raced on to a Noble pass and squared for the unmarked Portuguese. He took a touch and then shot but Friedel had set himself and saved well. Noble is hurt after his tackle to set Faubert away.
40min - GOAL! - Stiliyan Petrov makes it two with a close-range header from Ashley Young's cross.
38min - The Hammers have picked up a bit. They need to get Scott Parker and Noble on the ball. A good block from Ciaran Clark denies Boa Morte.
36min - Chance for Noble to play in a free-kick but he hits the wall. Villa are able to clear relatively comfortably.
34min - Milner teases a ball into the area which Carew meets with a deft flick of the head. A relieved Green watches it run wide of his left-hand post.
33min - Upson heads clear from another Albrighton cross. It is down the wings where Villa are getting most joy with Downing, Ashley Young, Milner and Albrighton all stretching the play.
32min - Avram Grant is out on the touchline. He is barking orders at his players.
31min - Faubert gets clear down the right for the first time and crosses. Dunne meets it with his head to give the Hammers their first corner. It comes to nothing though and in fact Villa work it all the way up the other end before losing possession.
29min - Albrighton tricks his way down the wing again and earns another corner off Green's one-handed swipe at the ball.
28min - Pablo Barrera and Alessandro Diamanti are warming up.
27min - After a brief respite, Albrighton wins another corner with a cross that deflects behind off Ilunga. Ashley Young takes it and the ball lands at Carew's feet. Reid does well to block before Young shoots over.
25min - Milner takes a tumble under pressure from Reid. Mike Dean waves away the penalty appeal and the visitors counter through Carlton Cole. He races down the left wing and cuts inside but his shot is well wide.
24min - Noble has looked the one bright spot for the Hammers but an attempted pass down the line runs out of play. Still the away fans sing.
22min - Villa are putting real pressure on the Hammers goal whenever they can. We have just had three corners in quick succession.
21min - What a save from Green. Ashley Young latched on to Carew's flick-on and tried a chip that had the England keeper sprawling to tip over the bar.
19min - Upson does well to hold off Carew and is eventually fouled. Carlton Cole is cutting an isolated figure at the moment.
17min - Villa are still on top. Well done Kovac to sense the danger as Albrighton went surging down the wing again.
15min - GOAL! - It was coming. Stuart Downing is on hand to stab the ball in after Ashley Young's cross is parried into his path by Green. The Hammers players are all complaining about offside and it did look a close one.
13min - Good play there by Noble and Parker as the Hammers try to get going. Noble then nearly beat the offside trap but Faubert was just flagged offside.
12min - Well done Tomkins. He showed better composure there to deny Albrighton a run down the right wing.
10min - So nearly a disaster. Tomkins misjudges a back-pass that allows Carew to run through on goal. Green does well to come out and kick clear but the ball ricochets off Tomkins and then hits the post. Villa win a free-kick as the Hammers scramble the ball away.
9min - Albrighton takes another corner, this time Carew meets it but again the Norway forward is off target.
7min - Green claps the travelling supporters as the Villa jeers ring out again. He then does well to claim after Herita Ilunga deflected an Albrighton cross into his path.
6min - Green's long goal-kick races through to Brad Friedel. The Hammers are under pressure here but it ends when Marc Albrighton pulls back Matthew Upson.
5min - Foul by Reid on Downing gives Villa another free-kick. Young takes it and slides the ball to Downing on the left wing. He crosses for John Carew, who heads wide with the goal gaping.
3min - Richard Dunne just heads over. Bit of a frenetic opening that. Huge boos ring out for Green as he prepares to take a goal-kick. The Hammers fans ring out with England's No1.
2min - Luis Boa Morte clears the corner at the near post with help from Scott Parker. Ashley Young comes again though and his cross to the back post is headed away well by James Tomkins. Another corner to Villa, though. Robert Green comes and punches, not once but twice and we get another Villa flag-kick.
1min - A poor header back by Julien Faubert puts Winston Reid under pressure and Aston Villa get a quick corner.
We are under way, with the Hammers kicking towards the Holte End.
2pm - Welcome to Villa Park for the first Barclays Premier League match of the season and Avram Grant's first in charge of the Hammers. After a seven-match unbeaten run, confidence is high although the manager will be without the services of Manuel da Costa and Thomas Hitzlsperger for this afternoon's contest. Da Costa has a slight knock while Hitzlsperger picked up a thigh problem on midweek duty with Germany. Winston Reid will make his debut for the club.
West Ham United: Green, Reid, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga, Parker, Kovac, Noble, Faubert, Boa Morte, Cole
Subs: Stech, Gabbidon, Spector, Barrera, Piquionne, Sears, Diamanti
Aston Villa: Friedel, L Young, Dunne, Clark, Warnock, Albrighton, Petrov, Milner, Downing, A Young, Carew
Subs: Guzan, Weimann, Lichaj, Bannan, Reo-Coker, Beye, Heskey