Two sides looking to build on strong starts to their Premier League campaigns do battle at Villa Park on Sunday. We look ahead to the clash between Aston Villa and West Ham with our prediction and preview.
Aston Villa vs West Ham: The Quick Hits
- Aston Villa (42.2%) are predicted to record an 11th consecutive Premier League home victory when they host West Ham (29.7%), according to the Opta supercomputer.
- Villa have 16 points from eight Premier League games this season, their highest tally at this stage in the competition since 2009-10 (also 16).
- David Moyes is unbeaten in his last 14 Premier League games against Villa since a 1-0 defeat with Everton in August 2010. Only against Sunderland (15 from August 2002 to November 2012) has the Scot ever had a longer unbeaten run against in the competition.
Aston Villa’s undefeated home streak will be put to the test on Sunday as they host a West Ham side looking to leapfrog them in the Premier League table.
Just two points and two places separate the teams ahead of kick-off, though fifth-placed Villa will fancy their chances of utilising the home advantage that has served them so well of late to put further distance between the sides with a win this weekend.
Unai Emery’s men have won each of their last 10 Premier League games at Villa Park, their longest home league winning run since October 1983 (13). Before this streak, Villa had only won 10 of their previous 30 home league games.
They have been lethal in front of goal at Villa Park this term, averaging 4.33 goals per game. Liverpool are the second-most prolific team for home goals, though their three goals per game at Anfield pales in comparison to Villa’s output. Emery’s side have been solid at the back, too, conceding just twice at Villa Park, and their goal difference (+7) on their own turf is also the best in the Premier League.
While a win on Sunday would put Villa on 19 points, their best points total from their opening nine matches of a top-flight campaign since 1998-99 (21), West Ham’s ability to put the ball in the back of the net on their travels will give Hammers fans making the journey north confidence of coming away with a result. They have scored in their last nine games on away or neutral ground in all competitions, including the 2-1 win over Fiorentina in last season’s UEFA Europa Conference League final.
It’s the defence that might be giving Moyes sleepless nights, his team both scoring and conceding in nine of their last 10 Premier League games. Only Brighton have let in more goals than West Ham of top-half teams.
A positive start would be helpful if West Ham are to come away with all three points, though Moyes’ side usually provide that, scoring the first goal in seven of their eight Premier League matches this season, the most of any side. The problem has come after going ahead, with only Brentford (11), Bournemouth (eight) and Burnley (eight) dropping more points from a winning position than West Ham’s seven.
Right-back Vladimir Coufal has been a surprising creative asset this term for the Hammers, providing an assist in each of his last four Premier League games, the longest ever run by a West Ham player and something of a shock after managing just one in the entirety of last season. Only 10 players have assisted a goal in five straight Premier League appearances, with Trent Alexander-Arnold the last to do so.
In terms of team news, Emiliano Buendía and Tyrone Mings both remain long-term absentees for Villa with serious knee injuries, while Jacob Ramsey is expected to be out of action until at least mid-November. Álex Moreno is reportedly due to return to training ahead of Sunday’s game but is unlikely to feature in the lineup.
Moyes could potentially have close to a full squad available for his selection on Sunday, though Aaron Cresswell, Ben Johnson and Lukasz Fabianski remain doubts due to only just returning from injury. James Ward-Prowse was not called up by England manager Gareth Southgate for the recent internationals despite recording three assists already this season, tied for seventh in the Premier League, and the midfielder will be keen to make an impact against Villa.
Aston Villa vs West Ham Head-to-Head
West Ham have had the upper hand in this fixture in recent times, unbeaten in 10 Premier League meetings since a 1-0 defeat in May 2015. Only against Fulham (12 between 2002 and 2009) and Derby County (11 between 1998-2008) have they had longer runs without defeat in the competition.
The Hammers have won three straight Premier League games at Villa Park, a stark upturn in fortunes having won on Villa’s turf just three times in their previous 21 visits in the competition. Their most recent defeat there was back in the 2014-15 season, Tom Cleverley scoring the winner for Tim Sherwood’s Villa.
The last meeting between the sides ended 1-1 back in March, Saïd Benrahma equalising from the spot for West Ham after Ollie Watkins put Villa ahead at the London Stadium. Emery’s team went on to lose just two games during the rest of the season, setting up a seventh-placed finish and Europa Conference League qualification.
While Villa’s recent home record is impressive, West Ham’s form on the road has also been solid and a distinct improvement on what came before it, with two wins from their last three away games, against Brighton and then Luton Town, as many as they managed in their previous 18.
Jarrod Bowen has been a vital part of that, scoring on all four of West Ham’s trips this season. Another goal on Sunday would see him join Thierry Henry and Mohamed Salah as the only players to net in each of their first five Premier League matches on the road to start a season.
While both Villa and West Ham have conceded 12 goals, it’s been the extra attacking prowess of Emery’s men that has been the difference between the sides over the early stages of the season, scoring 19 goals to the Hammers’ 15. Moussa Diaby and Watkins have created 14 chances for one another in the Premier League this season, four more than any other duo has managed.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off this weekend, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Aston Villa vs West Ham Prediction
The Opta supercomputer is backing Villa to continue their incredible home form by triumphing again this Sunday, coming out on top in 42.2% of the 10,000 simulations ahead of the weekend.
Villa Park has been a happy hunting ground for West Ham in recent years, and they are given a 29.7% chance of picking up a fourth straight win there, a result that would take them above their hosts in the table.
A draw would still be a very respectable result for the visitors considering Villa’s recent home form, and the teams sharing the spoils happened in 28.1% of simulations.
Both teams are harbouring ambitions of finishing in the European spots come the end of the season, and Opta’s supercomputer has Villa the more likely to do so with Emery’s men finishing in the top four in 15.4% of the 10,000 simulations, though their predicted finish is sixth, three places above Opta’s pre-season estimation. The Hammers make it into the top four in 6.1% of simulations, while they are also outperforming their pre-season prediction of 11th, with eighth now their most likely finish according to the supercomputer.