Aston Villa Up to Fifth With Convincing Win Over West Ham
Posted by samyomsan on October 23rd, 2023
Aston Villa rose up the table by defeating West Ham with a comprehensive win on home turf, as Douglas Luiz scored twice either side of halftime while Ollie Watkins and Leon Bailey also found the scoresheet as they continued their push towards Champions League qualification.
Hosts Liverpool had an exhilarating opening quarter-hour. Luiz nearly scored after being played through, yet his diving attempt from distance just missed hitting the top corner.
At Villa Park this afternoon's contest between Villa and Reading, a moment of silence and a chorus of Bobby Charlton tributes marked its beginning. Reading had more possession but were unable to break through Villa's stubborn defense; until Nicolo Zaniolo started after withdrawing from Italy to aid a betting investigation by setting up Ollie Watkins who curled a low shot just wide of Alphonse Areola's goal.
Luiz made no mistake as Ezri Konsa won an excellent penalty from Edson Alvarez after latching onto Lucas Paqueta's backpass before being brought down by Edson Alvarez and referee David Coote hesitated before awarding it. Soon afterwards, Moussa Diaby's pass evading Kurt Zouma found Watkins who turned Vladimir Coufal before shooting inches wide of the far post despite turning several other opponents.
Watkins played an instrumental role in Aston Villa's victory against West Ham at home. He linked up with Luiz and Zaniolo to create the opening goal before nearly extending it with his shot that struck side netting but went wide instead - all this earned him an excellent shot grade of 89.4 from six attempts!
Gareth Southgate included him in the England squad on October 5, in recognition of his outstanding club form, and he immediately cemented it by scoring one more goal than Harry Kane this season.
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His second goal came via another deflection when Jarrod Bowen's long-range effort hit Pau Torres and rebounded back off him for another goal, sparking pressure from away side but without finding an equaliser. Furthermore, he displayed his defensive capabilities by clearing an offside corner off the line.
Nicolo Zaniolo started and played 76 minutes, helping Villa to rediscover their home mojo. The Italy midfielder contributed two shots (zero on target) and one chance created before being substituted late in the second half.
Villa were transformed after halftime and quickly extended their lead with Luiz's penalty, after Paqueta's poor pass allowed Ezri Konsa to intercept ahead of Edson Alvarez and prevent his goal - prompting a quick decision from referee Tom Moody who pointed straight to the spot. Luiz made no misstep, firing the ball straight into the bottom corner past Alphonse Areola. West Ham were eventually put away, although their resistance didn't completely vanish: Nayef Aguerd's header went wide while Kortney Hause could have been sent off after making contact with Pablo Fornals' arm with his forearm smash. John McGinn's long ball quickly found Watkins and he confidently placed a shot into the roof of the net with ease. There was initially tension at Villa Park as Fornals was denied by Aguerd; however, Youri Tielemans passed on and collected by Watkins before sidestepping Aguerd and unleashing another shot into the top corner.
Aston Villa have claimed six home Premier League wins in succession thanks to Douglas Luiz's opening goal. Villa could have scored more in an exhilarating first quarter but Jack Grealish drilled wide while Moussa Diaby saw his deflected effort crash against the bar; James Ward-Prowse sent his free-kick into the side netting as they dominated.
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However, they were able to take an undeserved lead into half-time after Luiz scored his sixth goal of the season with an exquisite dummy to Lucas Paqueta and finish. West Ham almost equalised shortly after half time but Jarrod Bowen's shot deflected off Pau Torres for an instantaneous equalizer.
Villa pulled off an incredible last-minute move as Nicolo Zaniolo, playing his first match after being suspended by the Italian FA over a betting probe, collected a pass from Youri Tielemans before dodging Angelo Ogbonna and firing past Areola to secure all three points for Villa.
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