PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Aston Villa v West Ham – as it happens from Villa Park
for their last triumph on the road.
Villa will be desperate for three points in their bid to escape the clutches of the bottom three but they will also be keen to avoid a repeat of their clash with the east London side from earlier in the season when Sam Allardyce's side recorded a 1-0 win at Upton Park to start the 2012/13 campaign.
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Half-time: Aston Villa 0-0 West Ham
45+2min: Carroll has lacked service so far, despite West Ham winning a number of free-kicks, and his frustration in the first 45 minutes is summed up by one wild left foot swing from 25 yards that flies well off target.
45+1min: There will be four minutes added on.
44min: The first booking of the afternoon goes to West Ham's Emmanuel Pogatetz after the defender chops down Charles N'Zogbia to bring an immediate half to an Aston Villa counter attack.
42min: After a spell of West Ham pressure, Villa are once more looking the more likely to score. But as we approach half-time, all the goalmouth action has taken place inside the first 120 seconds.
39min: I thought it would be West Ham who would be closer to scoring from set-pieces but Villa nearly score from one of their own. A corner to the near post finds Ron Vlaar, whose half-volley on to the greasy surface bounces a yard over the bar.
37min: Terrific defending from Clark. West Ham do well to find Demel in space on the right, and his low cross is destined for an unmarked Joe Cole in the centre before the Villa defender gets a vital touch on the slide to intercept and allow Guzan to gather.
35min: The last five minutes have seen West Ham come back into this game, but despite winning a couple of free-kicks, the Villa defence has coped comfortably with Guzan keen to come off his line to punch clear any aerial bombardment.
32min: Another sign of the threat Carroll possesses as the striker wins a header inside the Villa box from a cross. The striker is off balance though and his effort loops comfortably into Guzan's arms.
30min: A rare charge forward from West Ham, and it comes form a neat passing exchange on the ground too as Matty Taylor releases Mohamed Diame down the left wing into the penalty box.
From there though it very quickly falls apart as the midfielder blasts a low cross into the near post side netting. Huge waste.
27min: Villa are starting to gain more control in this game but every time they get near the West Ham box there are a wall of bodies denying them a shot on goal. The Hammers are struggling to get out of their own half.
24min: With O'Brien's day done, Guy Demel has come on for the Hammers.
23min: This is turning into a war of attrition. Joey O'Brien has limped off the pitch for West Ham while Tomkins takes an accidental boot to the face from Delph after making a superb sliding tackle on the touchline. The West Ham medical team are making sure he still has all of his teeth after that one.
20min: The game has stopped momentarily as Baker receives more attention as blood starts to seep out of his Vaseline covered head following that earlier clash with Carroll.
Meanwhile the home fans as usual applaud in unison in the 19th minute to observe club captain, Stiliyan Petrov's battle against illness.
18min: Good footwork from Fabian Delph sees him dodge a couple of challenges in the West Ham half before he wins a free-kick 35 yards out. The ball is swung towards the back post but Benteke heads the difficult chance wide.
16min: It's been a nervous affair so far. West Ham remain content with a more direct playing style while Villa for all their effort just lack quality trying to pierce the West Ham backline.
13min: From InfostradaLive:
West Ham United have scored three opening goals in their away PL matches this season, together with Wigan, Norwich and Fulham least of all clubs. Villa have scored the opener in four of their home matches this PL season, only QPR (2) have less.
Miss of the season Andreas Weimann reacts after missing a golden opportunity to open the scoring for Villa
10min: James Tomkins produces a neat sliding tackle to deny Weimann a chance to cross from inside the box and Villa win their first corner.
It's cleared but shortly after winning a second corner, Nathan Baker and Carroll clash heads trying to head the ball and play has stopped for a minute or two while they receive treatment. Both look like they will be okay to continue once they stop seeing stars.
8min: Villa are showing the more attacking purpose so far but apart from that horror miss from Weimann ( I wonder what Darren Bent made of that on the sub's bench) we haven't seen any more chances.
5min: Otherwise it's a bright start from Villa who have controlled possession, but they do concede a free-kick in the centre-circle and you know what comes next.
West Ham pump a long high ball into the box for Andy Carroll, who wins a flick on and pounces on a loose ball to loop a shot just over Brad Guzan's crossbar.
2min: Miss of the season, there I said it! It's a horrible moment all round as Christian Benteke's low shot towards the near post from 20 yards is ludicrously fumbled by West Ham keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, only for Andreas Weimann to somehow place the rebound wide of the post with an open goal staring him in the face.
1min: From OptaJoe:
1 – West Ham have taken one point from the last 21 available on the road, scoring just five in their last nine PL away games. Travels.
Kick-off: Villa get us going.
Greetings: West Ham manager Sam Allardyce (left) and his opposite Aston Villa number, Paul Lambert shake hands before kick-off
13.27: Out come the players and speaking of claret and blue there are many empty seats inside Villa Park.
13.24: The players are in the tunnel with Aston Villa standing in claret and blue opposite West Ham…who are also in claret and blue.
The Hammers are in their more blue based away kit but this could hurt my eyes.
13.19: From InfostradaLive:
West Ham have failed to win in their last five PL visits to Villa Park, failing to score on four occasions. Their only victory in the last 14 visits was in January 2006 (2-1) when Bobby Zamora and Marlon Harewood (penalty) scored. Lee Hendrie netted for Villa.
13.14: We know about Villa's troubles this term but what happened the last time they went down Sadly the team of 1987 share many similarities with Paul Lambert's strugglers from this season as I found out here.
13.09: Gabriel Agbonlahor is ruled out through illness by the way. Still though it says much about Paul Lambert's faith in Darren Bent that he picks a forward who cost 23.4m less in his starting XI over him. At least Villa have some sort of firepower on the bench though.
13.06: Full line-ups from Villa Park:
Aston Villa v West Ham
Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Baker, Weimann, Westwood, Delph, Bowery, N'Zogbia, Benteke. Subs: Given, Bent, Holman, Sylla, Dawkins, Bannan, Bennett.
West Ham: Jaaskelainen, O'Brien, Reid, Tomkins, Pogatetz, Noble, Diame, Nolan, Taylor, Joe Cole, Carroll. Subs: Spiegel, Jarvis, Carlton Cole, Vaz Te, Demel, Chamakh, O'Neil.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)
13.03: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert hands a first Barclays Premier League start to striker Jordan Bowery, a 600,000 summer signing from Chesterfield, against West Ham at Villa Park.
Midfielder Fabian Delph, who has recovered from an ankle injury, and left-back Nathan Baker are recalled as Villa looked to end a run of eight league games without a win.
On-loan Wolfsburg defender Emanuel Pogatetz is given a first start by Hammers boss Sam Allardyce, with Joe Cole also brought back into the starting line-up.
Main threat: West Ham will rely on their on-loan striker Andy Carroll in attack
13.00: From OptaJoe:
2 – Aston Villa have scored just two goals in their last seven Premier League matches at Villa Park. Shy.
12.57: If there is one avenue we can see West Ham scoring from today, it is through set-pieces. Judging by Aston Villa's poor record at defending them it seems a West Ham corner + Andy Carroll's headers = goals.
Villa captain Ron Vlaar claims though that he and his teammates are aware of their set-piece struggles and targeting to put things right.
12.54: Sadly of course the big talking point this morning is not about the football but about Paul Gascoigne who has been rushed into intensive care in the USA.
The former England international is said to be out of immediate danger but let's continue to hope Gazza can make a full recovery.
12.51: The Villa Park pitch looks very tidy this afternoon but the less said about the weather, the better. It's wet, cold and overcast in the West Midlands but I guess we shouldn't be too surprised – it is February folks.
12.48: Speaking of Manchester United they will attempt to go a dozen points clear at the top of the table when they take on Everton at 4pm. You can follow live coverage of that match from around 3.30pm with myself straight after the action here at Villa Park.
12.45: Yesterday's results have given Villa a big incentive to take three points today as it would see them climb out of the bottom three into 17th.
West Ham may reside in mid-table but on 30 points they are not quite out of the relegation fight. A win today though and they would be 12 points clear of the bottom three. If a gap like that would be good enough for Manchester United, then I think Sam Allardyce's team would be content too.
Jaaskelainen, O'Brien, Tomkins, Reid, Pogatetz, Noble, Diame, Nolan, J.Cole, Taylor, Carroll.
12.35: Aston Villa starting XI:
Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Baker, Westwood, Delph, N’Zogbia, Bowery, Weimann, Benteke.
12.30: Apart from Manchester United (and we will get to them in a minute) one of the big winners from yesterday were Aston Villa, who saw the majority of their rivals battling relegation fail to pick up any points.
That's not quite job done for Paul Lambert's side this weekend though. Sitting one place off the bottom of the table they need to start winning points of their own. Today they host West Ham – a side suspect on their travels this term. Team news coming up.
Sunday's opener: Aston Villa will hope to ease relegation fears when they host West Ham at Villa Park