West Ham vs Aston Villa – Match Preview
With West Ham securing their own Premier League status after a string of impressive results, they may not have anything in the tank or even the desire to expend much effort on Sunday and if that proves to be the case, it will be music to the ears of Aston Villa.
After Week 34 of the Premier League season, Villa looked to be down and out and relegation to the EFL Championship looked set to be on the agenda at the end of July. However, the game of soccer is an incredibly strange beast and once again, there could be another twist in such a dramatic tale.
The West Midlands outfit have gone unbeaten in their last three league outings (won twice, draw once) and it is those seven points from the last nine on offer, which has played a huge part in their survival hopes.
Of course, it is no good getting out of the relegation zone on the penultimate round of the season, only to then slip back into it at the very end and this is something that Aston Villa manager Dean Smith will be aware of.
The task in hand is to motivate his group of players for one last hurrah and with West Ham no longer worrying about survival of their own, there is arguably no greater opposition for them to go up against this Sunday.
West Ham have been one of the form teams as of late and with just one defeat in their last six league outings, it is that string of results that has kept enough of a buffer between themselves and the relegation zone.
Much of their revival of fortunes has been placed on the shoulders of one player and with Michail Antonio scoring eight goals in as many league matches (although four of those came in a single game against Norwich), he is one of the form strikers at present.
A run of form where you almost do not want the season to end, such have been the results that West Ham have been recording as of late. However, manager David Moyes will undoubtedly be keen to rest his players and look back on what can only be considered a job well done.
A job that Dean Smith will be looking to carry out himself this Sunday and with their trip to London resembling more of a cup final, he knows that they have the slight edge over relegation rivals Watford.
All Aston Villa need to do is much the outcome of Watford (even if it comes down to losing by the same amount) and that would mean it is the Hornets, rather than the Villains that will be dropping down a division.
With that said, Villa cannot play without confidence and hope for just a draw, especially as Watford may be able to take advantage of an Arsenal side that will rest players before next week’s F.A. Cup Final.
A draw was the outcome when these two sides met last September and although that might be enough, you get the feeling that Villa may have to go all out and win the game, rather than rely on matters elsewhere.
These two sides are usually the underdogs in any Premier League fixture, which means it is incredibly alien territory for Aston Villa. Not only are they away from home, but they’re also favourites to win and at +124 on the moneyline, this could be one of the shrewdest punts of the upcoming weekend.