Aston Villa and West Ham United face off on Sunday, with both teams looking to end their sloppy start to the season.

Aston Villa fans will be unhappy with their team’s start to the season, collecting only three points from their opening games. Steven Gerrard is still learning which lineup suits his system as results haven’t matched their ambition in the transfer market.

After a summer of significant spending, Villa lost their opening matchday to newcomers Nottingham Forest. They did manage a narrow victory over Everton the following week, but those three points came at a cost as they lost summer arrival Diego Carlos to a severe injury.

Last weekend, Crystal Palace piled the pressure on Gerrard, as the Eagles were comfortable winners at Selhurst Park. The timing of the West Ham clash may be debated, considering Villa will face a team wounded by their disastrous start to the campaign.

If Aston Villa’s start was of any concern, West Ham fans are baffled after seeing their team at the bottom of the Premier League table after three defeats in as many games. The Hammers have been terrible since the campaign began and endured a chastening loss to Brighton last weekend.

David Moyes may not seem under tremendous pressure, as the club are seeking quality reinforcements in the market. The potential arrival of Lucas Paqueta will go on to improve their attacking style of football, but the immediate need for the manager is to get results on board.

West Ham did qualify for the Europa Conference League beating Viborg over two legs, and Moyes will be hopeful of replicating their European form in the domestic league. Moyes will be wary of the challenge posed by a wounded Villa side and hoping to get the first points on board this season.

Team News & Tactics

Aston Villa

Gerrard seemed to have figured out the right lineup during their win over Everton, but things fell off awkwardly against Palace. There are several decisions with team selections on the manager’s part, which could see some changes made to the side that lost out to Palace.

In terms of injuries, Ludwig Augustinsson is a significant doubt after the left-back missed out during midweek through an injury. He did train on Friday, although Lucas Digne is expected to start in the position for Premier League clashes.

Diego Carlos remains the only confirmed absentee as the defender may miss the entire season with a severe injury. In terms of team selection, Gerrard is likely to retain Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings in central defence, with Digne and Matty Cash in the full-back roles.

Gerrard could ponder recalling Danny Ings, which could put the striker as a lone forward or alongside Ollie Watkins in a front two. Emiliano Buendia’s place could also be threatened, as the manager could bring Philippe Coutinho back into the team.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Digne; McGinn, Kamara, Ramsey; Watkins, Ings, Coutinho

West Ham United

Moyes could hand in recalls to a few of his Premier League regulars who sat out the midweek win over Viborg. Among those would be Kurt Zouma, Declan Rice and Jarrod Bowen.

Regarding injuries, Nayef Aguerd remains the only confirmed absentee, as the defender is expected to miss around two months of action. Meanwhile, Vladimir Coufal and Craig Dawson are significant doubts for the Villa trip.

They are expected to be assessed before the game, although Moyes may not take the risk and look to involve them again when they host Spurs on the next matchday. Ben Johnson and Thilo Kehrer are expected to keep their places in the backline, with the latter likely to partner Zouma in the centre.

There could be a change up top, with Gianluca Scamacca making his case to the manager after two goals in as many starts. The Italian could replace Michail Antonio, who has had a terrible start to the domestic campaign.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Johnson, Zouma, Kehrer, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek; Bowen, Lanzini, Fornals; Scamacca

Key Stats

  • Aston Villa have conceded at least 2 goals in their last four games against West Ham in all competitions.
  • Aston Villa have won just 3 out of their last 14 games in the Premier League.
  • West Ham have lost 6 of their last 7 away matches in the Premier League.
  • West Ham have won their last 4 matches against Aston Villa in all competitions.
  • West Ham have failed to score in their last 3 matches in the Premier League.

Player To Watch

Jarrod Bowen

 Embed from Getty Images

The England international has had a difficult start to the season and is yet to get into his usual stride in the final third. While the whole team has been terrible so far, Bowen is not doing visibly enough to help his team.

The winger was often seen as a saviour in many games last season and needed to start producing the goods in the final third. If his terrible form continues, it could jeopardize his place in the England squad, something the attacker will not want.

Prediction

Aston Villa 1-2 West Ham United

Both teams are misfiring at the moment, and taking the pressure into account, the Hammers will be more desperate to secure a positive result on Sunday. That said, Villa will also be keen on getting their hands on three points, but looking at their current form, it may seem unlikely.

West Ham could have a better overall squad than Villa, which may come in handy on Sunday. Taking many factors into account, the Hammers could have the upper hand and may snatch a narrow victory over Gerrard’s side at Villa Park.

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