Aston Villa v West Ham United
Barclays Premier League
Sunday 17 January 2010
Referee: Mike Jones
Full-time score - Aston Villa 0-0 West Ham United
96 mins - We are now in the 96th minute. Surely there cannot be much longer to go? Young launches the ball into the box and Green claims again. He boots the ball upfield and referee Jones blows for full-time! That is a very well-deserved point for the Hammers, who will return to action at Portsmouth a week on Tuesday. Robert Green turns 30 tomorrow, and he has plenty to celebrate after a superb performance and his fourth clean sheet of the season.
94 mins - Less than a minute to go and the ball is in the hands of Green, who saved Agbonlahor's shot with his face! Tomkins is down and needs attention. While he gets some help from physio Rolls, Nouble is replaced by Manuel da Costa.
92 mins - Brilliant from Robert Green. Agbonlahor got in behind the Hammers back four but the England goalkeeper was out like a shot to dive bravely at the forward's feet and prevent him from scoring his tenth goal of the season.
91 mins - Downing overhits the free-kick...
90 mins - Stanislas is penalised for a foul on Young wide on the right. We're going to have a minimum of four minutes.
89 mins - The ball bounces around in the midfield and Stanislas launches into a tackle with Petrov. After a short melee, both players are booked, Stanislas for the foul and Petrov for his reaction.
88 mins - Collison wins a corner wide on the left. Good work from the Wales midfielder. Stanislas trots across to take it. Villa clear their lines.
87 mins - Faubert slides in to concede another corner. Young crosses and the ball flies up in the air to Downing. He heads goalwards but cannot repeat his trick for Middlesbrough last season as Green easily catches the loose ball.
85 mins - West Ham break again through Behrami. The ball goes to Stanislas, who finds Diamanti. Warnock blocks the Italian's shot into the air and Behrami challenges Friedel before ending up in a heap on the floor. After a short period, Jones stops the game for the midfielder to receive treatment.
82 mins - Superb from Nouble, who cleverly turns Collins and bursts down the left wing, outpacing his former team-mate with ease before Dunne makes a last-ditch challenge. Nouble is only 18, remember, but he's played like a real man today. Can he cap his display with a dramatic winner?
81 mins - Diamanti swings in a free-kick after Nouble had been hauled down by the Spaniard Cuellar. The ball breaks to Noble, but his first-time volley flies well wide.
79 mins - Ooooh! Close call there. Nouble tried to break the Villa offside trap and latch on to Noble's pass, but he is just a yard the wrong side of Cuellar.
76 mins - A second booking for a West Ham player. Collison is the man booked and he can have no complaints after hauling down Petrov. Downing crosses and Dunne heads out for a goal-kick... Or so I thought. Jones gives a corner! West Ham, thankfully, clear the ball.
74 mins - Green almost ruins all his good work when Carew forces him to gift possession to Agbonlahor. The winger crosses to Petrov, but Tomkins makes a heroic block to get his goalkeeper off the hook.
73 mins - Superb play from Nouble as he forces Dunne into conceding a corner. The ball is worked to Stanislas, who shoots and it takes a BIG deflection off Carew, only for referee Jones to award a goal kick. Interesting.
71 mins - Nouble finds Diamanti with a clever pass. The Italian shows great vision to pick out Stanislas on the far post. He takes a touch and shoots low across the six-yard box where Collins slices the ball over his own crossbar. The resulting corner is not great. Diamanti tries to repeat the trick to Stanislas 25 yards out, but the winger completely misses his kick!
69 mins - West Ham have a decent bit of possession around the Villa box that ends with Faubert crossing low and Collins hacking the ball into the stand. West Ham work the throw-in to Diamanti in a central position, but his shot is not well hit and rolls out for a goal kick.
67 mins - Both sets of fans are trying to get their respective teams going as the game enters its final quarter. For some reason, the floodlights are on! There is not a single cloud in the sky over Villa Park. Faubert is penalised for handball and Villa have a free-kick wide on the left. Young curls it in, Faubert heads half-clear and Dunne knocks the ball out for a goal kick.
65 mins - Scott Parker has an ice-pack strapped to his upper leg. Let's hope that it's nothing serious. On the pitch, Diamanti wins a free-kick midway inside the Villa half. Noble clips it in and Downing completes the clearance.
63 mins - Villa break down the left and the ball is worked to Agbonlahor inside the penalty area. He has time to turn and shoot, but his effort is high over the crossbar. That was a let-off.
63 mins - More good work from Nouble, who has worked his socks off today. Noble finds him wide on the left and he cuts inside Collins before testing Friedel with a low shot at his near post.
62 mins - Kovac is the second Hammer to be replaced, with Junior Stanislas on in his place. Noble is going to hold in midfield.
60 mins - More controversy! Downing shoots low and hard and Green cannot hold on, Carew nips in and clips the ball into the net, but wait, the offside flag is up. Replays show it is the right decision from the assistant referee.
59 mins - Kovac is very, very lucky to stay on there. After being booked before the break, he slides in and brings down Petrov. Referee Jones gives just a free-kick.
58 mins - West Ham clear the ball again and it falls to Collins, who hits a first-time volley from 25 yards that flashes wide.
57 mins - It is Parker who is coming off, with Diamanti heading on in his place. Behrami goes into the middle, with Diamanti wide on the right and Collison wide on the rigth. Villa also make a change, with Norway striker John Carew on for Heskey.
56 mins - Villa keep up the pressure, with Downing's shot deflected over for another corner. West Ham half-clear and Milner smashes the ball across the box where Cuellar can only sky his shot into the stand.
54 mins - Scott Parker turns away from two Villa players and tries to find Collison but his pass is too strong and skips through to Friedel. On the touchline, it looks like Diamanti is about to enter the fray. Villa win another corner, meanwhile, which is headed clear by Behrami at the near post.
53 mins - A chance for the Hammers goes begging. Spector races on to Noble's pass and cuts the ball back into the penalty area. It hits Nouble and bounces to Behrami, who tries to find the unmarked Kovac, but his pass goes astray and Villa clear.
51 mins - Villa have really turned up the heat since half-time and win another free-kick down the right when Spector clashes with Young. The same player curls in the set piece and it eludes Dunne's head before bouncing behind off Collins's shin.
49 mins - A second corner flashes across the goalmouth before the ball falls to Downing. Green kicks clear after grabbing the ball but it falls to Villa again. Agbonlahor and Heskey combine to find Milner, who smashes a low shot inches wide of the post.
48 mins - Villa have started the second half as they ended the first, forcing a succession of corners. The first is cleared, but West Ham cannot get hold of the ball for any length of time at present.
46 mins - West Ham get the second half underway courtesy of Nouble and Collison... There are two balls on the pitch! A ballboy runs on to retrieve one with play going on about ten yards away! Play resumes with a West Ham throw-in.
Villa are the first of the two teams to emerge after half-time. They will be kick towards the Holte End in the second half. Let's hope that doesn't inspire them on to victory. Matthew Upson leads the Hammers back on to the pitch.
Half-time score - Aston Villa 0-0 West Ham United
46 mins - Downing finds Young, who is also wearing bright green boots, down the left channel. Tomkins challenges him strongly and the ball hits the Villa player and bounces out for a goal kick. Green belts the ball long and referee Jones blows for half-time.
45 mins - We are going to have at least one more minute...
44 mins - Petrov tries a crossfield ball to Young that Faubert can only divert out for Villa's eighth corner of the half. After a spot of juggling, Green holds on again.
43 mins - Danger for West Ham as Tomkins is penalised for a foul on Agbonlahor RIGHT on the edge of the penalty area. Young curls the ball in and Green claims.
42 mins - Warnock overlaps brilliantly again, latching on to Young's pass, but he overhits his cross terribly after cutting into the Hammers box.
40 mins - Two impressive pieces of defending. First, Spector blocks a shot well before Faubert shields Young's pass to Milner out for a goal kick.
36 mins - Milner goes out to the left touchline to receive a throw-in and curls it into the box with his left foot, only for Heskey to miss his kick.
35 mins - Green does superbly again, diving like Superman to punch Young's cross out of danger. The ball is launched back into the penalty area and Spector heads it out for a corner. After Young's first effort is headed out for another flag-kick, Downing curls the second in and Collins heads well wide.
33 mins - West Ham go forward again through Parker, who tries to play in Collison, only for Cuellar to cut across and stab the ball out for a throw-in.
32 mins - Noble curls the corner in and it flicks off a head to Parker on the edge of the box. He works the ball to Collison, who finds Behrami, but the Swiss midfielder's first-time shot is high into the Holte End.
31 mins - West Ham try to break and Collison is fouled. Kovac takes the free-kick quickly to Noble, who is tackled by Dunne. West Ham keep up the pressure from the resulting throw-in and Nouble wins a corner off Dunne.
29 mins - Good from Green again. Downing found Young wide on the left, who rolled the ball to Warnock, whose teasing cross was expertly plucked out of the air by the England stopper.
28 mins - All of that action did not take place in the 26th minute, so I apologise, but it all got a bit breathless for a few moments and I was trying to keep up!
26 mins - Villa force another left-wing corner when Tomkins blocks a shot from former England U21 colleague Milner. After Noble intercepts the ball, Nouble breaks and beats two, only to lose the ball on the edge of the Villa box. The home side come forward immediately and Green scambles the ball clear. Kovac knocks it out for a throw-in and Green pulls off a marvellous save from Agbonlahor, whose shot on the turn looks destined for the net.
25 mins - Petrov tries to send Agbonlahor clear with a raking ball from just inside his own half, but Upson watches it closely and clears with his left foot on the edge of the penalty area.
23 mins - Downing and Young have swapped flanks. The two England internationals do that often for O'Neill, providing in-swinging crosses that have proved hard for their opponents to deal with.
20 mins - Villa win another free-kick inside West Ham territory, this time for Upson's foul on Agbonlahor. Young curls in an inviting ball and Faubert hacks it behind. Villa take the corner short and Kovac heads clear. The hosts win possession back and force another corner when Tomkins blocks Heskey's shot. Young curls the ball into the danger zone and Spector dives in bravely ahead of Green to head clear.
18 mins - Poor old Kovac! Milner takes the free-kick and it hits him square in the face. Physio Andy Rolls comes on to have a quick look, but Kovac looks OK to continue. After a few seconds, he returns to the fray.
17 mins - Kovac is booked for next to nothing. He outmuscles Heskey, who falls to the ground. Not only does the referee give a dubious free-kick, but he compounds the decision by showing the Czech a yellow card. Not sure about that one.
16 mins - A first half-chance for Villa. Nice play from Milner and Wanock down the left ends with the left-back launching a deep cross to the back post. Downing heads the ball down and Green falls on it at his near post.
14 mins - There are quite a few empty seats around Villa Park this afternoon, which is a bit disappointing, but perhaps to be expected when you consider the game is being shown live on television. Those inside the ground are not making too much noise, either. That is mainly because West Ham are doing a good job of stifling the home side, so far.
12 mins - Tomkins gets in a challenge on Agbonlahor and concedes a corner. Young whips the ball in and Green claims above his head.
10 mins - A nice bit of possession football there from the Hammers, but shame about the finish! Behrami and Faubert combine to find Collison, who gives the ball to Parker. The less said about his shot, the better...!
9 mins - Nouble needs to do more of that today. He is playing up front on his own and will have to hold the ball up and bring his team-mates into play. Manager Zola appears happy enough so far in his seat in the dugout. O'Neill, meanwhile, is on the edge of his technical area with his arms folded.
7 mins - Heskey goes down in the midfield and needs the physio on for some treatment. After a few running repairs, he is back on the field again.
5 mins - Amazing run from Nouble, who picks up the ball 20 yards inside his own half before going past Collins and Dunne and bursting into the box before, unfortunately, skying his shot well over the top under pressure from Petrov.
5 mins - A lot of 'feeling out' in midfield so far, with Villa controlling possession. The home side force a succession of throw-ins down the right flank.
3 mins - Those clouds I was talking about before kick off have almost completely disappeared. So much for my weather forecasting...
1 min - Heskey flicks on a long ball and Agbonlahor is caught offside. Tomkins is going to have to keep a close eye on the lightning-quick England man, who is Villa's top scorer with nine goals this term.
1.31pm - The minute's silence was immaculately observed by both sets of players and fans, as one would expect. Moments later, Villa get us underway...
1.29pm - Referee Mike Jones goes through the coin toss and photocall with the mascots before calling the two teams together for the minute's silence.
1.26pm - The home fans are very quiet, with just a gently murmur moving around the stands surrounding us. Across the pitch, the Hammers faithful are in full voice as usual as the two teams enter the field of play.
1.25pm - We're going to have a minute's silence before today's game in memory of those who perished in the attack on the Togo team coach at the Africa Cup of Nations. Villa midfielder Moustapha Salifou was among the players on the bus and, thankfully, escaped injury.
1.20pm - Villa Park is a proper old-fashioned football stadium, a bit like the Boleyn Ground, with four stands rather than an enclosed arena. The Holte End is absolutely massive to our right. The West Ham fans are sat directly opposite us in the Doug Ellis Stand. Villa's players have headed back to their dressing room, with Valon Behrami the first Hammer to follow them down the tunnel. The Switzerland midfielder is sporting a bright blond rinse this afternoon. The small television screens in the Press Box, meanwhile, are showing an interview with Alessandro Diamanti. The Italian certainly has some impressive tattoos!
1.15pm - The sun is shining bright over Villa Park, but the grey clouds are gathering, so the weather might not be set fair for too long. On the pitch, the West Ham squad is being put through its paces by Antonio Pintus. The stadium announcer has just told us that James Collison is starting for the Hammers, whoever he is...
Good afternoon from a bright but chilly Villa Park for this afternoon's Barclays Premier League fixture between Aston Villa and West Ham United.
The Hammers will rise to 14th in the table with a win, while a draw will lift Gianfranco Zola's side two places into 16th. Martin O'Neill's team are sixth, with a two-goal win lifting the Villans to fifth.
Gianfranco Zola's side have not been in league action since going down to a 2-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on 28 December. Following a 2-1 FA Cup third-round loss to Arsenal on 3 January, last Sunday's home fixture with Wolverhampton Wanderers fell victim to the cold weather.
Zola has made four changes to the side that was narrowly beaten by the Gunners a fortnight ago. At the back, Jonathan Spector replaces Swiss Under-19 defender Fabio Daprela at left-back. The three other changes are in midfield, with Alessandro Diamanti, Luis Jimenez and Junior Stanislas making way for the suspension-free Scott Parker, Mark Noble and Jack Collison.
Former Hammer James Collins starts for Aston Villa, who make one change, with goalkeeper Brad Guzan being replaced by fellow American Brad Friedel.
Aston Villa: Friedel, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, A.Young, Petrov, Milner, Downing, Agbonlahor, Heskey (Carew 57)
Subs: Guzan, Beye, L.Young, Sidwell, Delph, Delfouneso
West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Tomkins, Upson, Spector, Kovac (Stanislas 62), Behrami, Parker (Diamanti 57), Noble, Collison, Nouble (Da Costa 90)
Subs: Kurucz, Daprela, Jimenez, Sears