West Ham United (1) vs Aston Villa (0) FT
16.56: Full time, and it’s West Ham 1, Villa 0. We didn’t sound like we’re going to score if we played another match straight after this one. Was a real concern of mine going into this game, and it materialised, we just don’t create enough. As mentioned hopefully Randy will be fully aware that we need at least two or three new players. West Ham didn’t create much really, but the goal always looked like it would be enough. Vlaar did well, but there is work to be done. No time for overreactions, but it’s so so clear we need a few new faces. On to the next one. UTV.
16.54: Villa pushing for an equaliser and as West Ham break it’s suddenly dangerous. Given is rounded, but Baker does brilliantly to clear off the line.
16.51: Villa have a free kick, and after a bit of pressure nothing happens. To the cheers of the home fans, Collins is named man of the match. Typ.ic.al. 4 minutes of stoppage time.
16.48: Clark makes a good challenge, and Villa break but Ireland dwells on the ball and loses it. Gardner also gives the ball away. All a bit sloppy at a bad time.
16.45: Lowton gets forward well, but his cross is too close to the keeper. Poor again for the Villa.
16.42: We’re trying to get back into it but nothing doing. Randy is watching, and hopefully he sees we are certainly short of the required quality needed if we want to avoid a repeat of the last two seasons.
16.38: Good move for Villa, and it’s Ron Vlaar who unleashes but can’t get that elusive goal for us. Bannan comes on for Delph in our last sub. At the other end Cole has a free header but gets it all wrong, bit of a let off.
16.34: Yet another corner for Villa, but Bent can’t find the target. Subs for both teams as Nolan comes off for the Hammers for a defender, and Gardner replaces N’Zogbia for Villa.
16.32: Another corner for Villa, but nothing comes of it. Sub for West Ham sees O’Brien replacing McCartney.
16.30: Quiet period in the game, as the crazy hot weather takes it toll.
16.26: Vaz Te beats Baker, and finds Nolan I think but Given makes the save.
16.25: Corner for Villa and Vlaar gets to it but can’t find the target.
16.22: Sub for Villa, guess they were reading these updates. Weimann comes on for Holman, absolutely the right decision.
16.21: Given comes out and claims well. There seems to be no urgency at the moment, wouldn’t mind seeing some subs soon.
16.19: Bit of a lull as play stops due to an injury to a Hammer.
16.13: A free kick for Villa but Vlaar powers it wide. In other news Lambert’s old club Norwich are 3-0 down.
16.12: Diame for the Hammers is doing well. Shows what a difference a decent defensive midfielder can make to a side.
16.10: Carlton Cole goes down in the box, and nothing is given.
16.07: Kicks off for the second half and Ireland has a chance already but the keeper makes a decent save. At the other end the Hammers force a corner, and Villa deal with it.
16.06: More stats from half time. West Ham: 97 of 133 passes successful (73%), Villa 256 of 303 successful (84%).
15.57: Few Villa half time passing stats: Fabian Delph completed 53/55 passes in the first half (96%) and Karim El-Ahmadi completed 45/49 passes in the first half (92%). Nice to see.
15.53: Half time at Upton Park and the Hammers are leading 1-0. Started off really really well, but for all the possession I don’t think we had a good chance. Said it in the preseason games, but we’re not creating near enough clear cut chances, with most of our goals ironically coming through set-pieces.
15.47: Regarding the goal, the ball seemed to come off Clark, so the decision was correct. The linesman didn’t help himself with raising the flag though.
15.41: Controversy at Upton Park. Ball is played in, a hammer wins the ball, and as the ball goes forward the linesman raises his flag. Seemed offside and after consultation the ref gives it. Big decision.
15.37: Another free kick conceded, and this time Nolan isn’t too far away. Need to stop these ideally.
15.36: Vlaar gets a cut on his head, gets it bandaged up and gets on with it. Standard.
15.34: Villa seem to be giving a few set-pieces away. We saw last year how they can haunt us, so hopefully we cut them out.
15.30: The midfielders continue to battle well, and it’s Delph who is involved this time, winning the ball from Taylor. Villa dealing well with a couple of high balls into the box.
15.28: West Ham have a free kick in a good position, but it misses everyone and Given claims easily.
15.26: Matt Taylor breaks for West Ham, and it’s Stephen Ireland who chases back and wins the ball back. Great to see.
15.23: Vlaar deals well with Carlton Cole. At the other end, James Collins seems determined to keep us out, blocking twice from El Ahmadi and Ireland. To be fair, that was one part of his game that was never lacking, and he looks up for this.
15.21: Villa break well, and three or four players are involved as Holman finds himself with the ball. Sadly for Villa his cross is not good enough and misses everyone. Still encouraging signs.
15.19: West Ham start to threaten, and win their first corner. Pleased to say we dealt with it!
15.16: As we saw in preseason, Given is often passing short to his defenders, rather than going long. Encouraging signs and seems to suggest we’ll continue to try and play a more passing game.
15.13: El Ahmadi shoots from around 40 yards, never threatening.
15.11: Villa are keen to press West Ham at every opportunity, and the home team are struggling to settle.
15.07: Villa continue to dominate, and this is a good positive start. Holman and Ireland feature, but Holman’s cut back can’t find anyone.
15.05: Villa start well, and Holman has a long range effort not too far off target. Away fans in good voice.
15.00: Kick off is here! Villa do the pre-match huddle, and we kick off. Missed this.
14.55: Just saw this rather depressing tweet: ‘Villa have failed to win in their last five away opening Premier League fixtures of the season.’ Let’s hope we correct that today!
14.50: One quick note from our bench as young striker Graham Burke is included. Highly rated and scored a fair few in preseason. Doubtful he’ll see any action, but still a very impressive achievement for the player.
14.49: Of course we’re airing our pretty awesome lime green attire today. “We glow in the darkkkkkkkkkk”
It’s backkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk! To be fair, as we mentioned previously, this summer without premiership football hasn’t felt as long with the Euro’s and the Olympics. Still missed it though, and the start of the new football season is always an exciting occasion.
The teams are in, and with Randy watching let’s hope they put in a top display. Here is the Villa starting eleven and subs:
Given, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Baker, Holman, Delph, El Ahmadi, N’Zogbia, Ireland, Bent [c]
Subs: Guzan, Herd, Weimann, Bannan, Lichaj, Burke, Gardner.
Baker is perhaps the only real surprise, but looking at West Ham and our general lack of physicality and height, I think it’s a good call. He’s played there previously, so hopefully he does a job. Bent has been named captain and I think that’s a good shout. If it inspires him to give that little bit extra then I’m all for it. It’s a big footballing cliché but sometimes it doesn’t matter who is wearing the armband, and I’m sure players like Vlaar and Delph will be getting involved.
On to West Ham and here is their starting eleven and subs:
Jaaskelainen, Redi, McCartney, Collins, Demel, Nolan, Taylor, Vaz Te, Noble, Diame, Cole.
Subs: Tomkins, Diarra, O’Neil, Henderson, Maynard, Maiga, O’Brien.
Few Villa old boys in Collins and Cole, and hopefully they don’t stick to that other footballing cliché and come back to haunt us.
Kick off is fast approaching, and as usual we’d love for you to get involved.
Come on the Villa!