West Ham seek European boost when hosting Villa


West Ham aim to boost their European ambitions when hosting Aston Villa at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Hammers are fresh off the back of a 1-0 defeat to Sevilla in midweek but can boost their European qualification hopes for next season with a victory over Steven Gerrard’s Villa side.

Alongside Liverpool, West Ham are the only club to have scored in every home Premier League match this season, with Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen leading the scoring charts with eight each.

Antonio has failed to score in his last eight league appearances and will hope to get back firing against the Villans, attempting to break a streak which would stretch to nine games for the first time since a spell between November 2019 and February 2020.

To make their scoring efforts more severe, Bowen will also be absent for the fixture as he recovers from a knock sustained against Liverpool last weekend. Declan Rice is expected to retain his place after returning from illness against Sevilla in midweek.

David Moyes was full of praise for his opponents ahead of the tie:

“I’ve always thought a lot of Aston Villa. I’ve said since last year that they’ve got good players and some really talented young players. They signed well in the transfer window. But the Premier League is full of good teams at the moment. Aston Villa will be a competitive game.

His team are in fantastic form against Villa in recent times, winning their last three Premier League fixtures against them, including a 4-1 win at Villa Park in late October.

Villa have recovered from some rocky form to win three straight against Brighton, Southampton and Leeds to lift themselves to ninth in the table.

Phillipe Coutinho has been added to the Villa ranks since that day and the Brazilian was superb the last time he faced the Hammers, when the Brazilian scored twice and assisted once in a 4-0 Liverpool win in May 2017.

The visitors will have hopes of replicating West Ham’s success in achieving Europe and Steven Gerrard explained it’s a test of how far his team have come when facing up against the Hammers.

“From what I hear from the outside, his coaching staff all do a great job of supporting him and they’re all doing a great job for West Ham.

“They’re competing in Europe, which is a long-term goal for ourselves.

“We need to admire what they’re doing and respect what they’re doing, but it’s a fantastic opportunity for us to show where we’re at, take on the challenge and go toe-to-toe with a good team.”

Marvelous Nakamba is the only absentee for Villa ahead of the fixture, with rumours that Morgan Sanson could get a rare start in midfield if Gerrard decides to rotate after playing Leeds on Thursday.

The match presents an intriguing game if Villa come at their best and with both team’s having play midweek, there will be no excuses for fatigue.

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