Goals early in either half gave West Ham a third win in a row as they beat Aston Villa 2-1 to rise above their opponents in the table.
David Moyes’ side went into the game on the back of wins over Fulham and Sheffield United. They were expecting a bigger challenge from Villa, though, with the visitors boasting a 100 per cent away record.
That record ended at the London Stadium – a venue that had brought happy memories last season, when Villa claimed the point they needed to survive on the final day – as the Hammers inflicted defeat on Dean Smith’s side. Villa have now lost four of their last five games.
West Ham were in front after just two minutes. Angelo Ogbonna rose highest in the box from a Jarrod Bowen corner to head home past Emiliano Martinez.
Ogbonna got the last touch for the next goal as well – but it was into his own net. Villa captain Jack Grealish dribbled forward with intent before shooting at goal. It came off Ogbonna’s boot and went beyond the reach of Lukasz Fabianski.
Bowen doubles lead
What an impact from Saïd Benrahma! 💥
Less than 30 seconds after coming on, he sets up Bowen as #WHUFC retake the lead!
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 30, 2020
Having taken the lead quickly in the first half, West Ham regained it even faster in the second half.
Less than a minute had passed since the restart when Said Benrahma sent in a delicate cross for Bowen to head in.
Benrahma had only just come on as a substitute, but it proved to be an inspired change by David Moyes.
Villa had a golden opportunity to equalise just after the hour mark when Trezeguet failed to score a tap-in from yards out after being set up by Ollie Watkins. The midfielder could not divert his shot on target, though, and Fabianski pushed the ball away.
Watkins had a decent chance himself when Grealish crossed the ball in after some good dribbling work, but the striker headed over.
Villa win penalty
Villa were then gifted the chance to equalise when they won a penalty after Trezeguet went down after Declan Rice pulled his shirt. West Ham pleaded there was nothing wrong, but VAR did not overturn it.
Trezeguet had to off with a bloodied face after being caught by Rice’s stud as he fell, meaning he did not remain on the pitch to see his teammate Watkins take the penalty.
The resulting spot kick was not great viewing for Villa, anyway. Watkins was unable to make the most of the chance from 12 yards, as his effort struck the crossbar.
Watkins thought he had made amends though in stoppage time when he tapped home an equaliser. However, a VAR check found that the top of his arm was offside by the narrowest of margins.
It meant West Ham kept hold of their one-goal lead and saw out the win. It lifts them into fifth place in the Premier League table – two points above 10th-placed Villa.