Pablo Fornals’s shot from a distance secured West Ham United’s first win of the season as Aston Villa’s woes continue.

David Moyes will be happy and relieved in equal measure after his West Ham United side secured their first win of the season. After a disastrous start to the campaign and coming to Villa Park at the back of three successive defeats, the Hammers are finally off the mark.

Pablo Fornals’s second-half goal from a distance proved to be the difference between the sides, as West Ham stood firm and absorbed whatever pressure Aston Villa could apply. While the result will appease those in charge of the Hammers, the feelings will contrast for Villa supporters.

Villa were the better team on the ball in the opening half, as West Ham decided to sit deep and rely on counters. Moyes’ men were able to create few chances; Steven Gerrard’s side were more lively. Yet, their performance inside the box lacked the edge.

Pablo Fornals’s shot from a distance was deflected off Ezri Konsa and into the back of the net as West Ham broke the deadlock midway through the second half. Since then, the Hammers sustained some fluid Villa attacks and held their nerve to see the game through.

The victory will boost West Ham’s confidence ahead of the next game, and Moyes will gladly take a gritty win over anything right now. As for Villa, the road looks problematic, as they are set to face Arsenal on Wednesday, as another lousy result could spell trouble for Gerrard.

Here are the player ratings from West Ham United’s narrow win away at Villa Park.

Aston Villa

Emiliano Martinez: 6.5/10

Martinez looked comfortable throughout and commanded his box well. The way his team performed in the first period, he barely had anything to do. However, he could not do much for the goal, for the shot was deflected off Konsa.

Matty Cash: 6/10

Cash caused all sorts of problems for the Hammers’ defence with his running but could not affect proceedings in the final third too much. Yet he was strong defensively and will rue his team’s chances to get something from this game.

Calum Chambers: 6/10

Chambers was the change Gerrard was forced to make after Mings’s absence, meaning this was Aston Villa’s fourth centre-back partnership in as many games. The defender had a decent game overall, although there was one poor pass, which may have cost his team, only for Konsa to bail him out.

Ezri Konsa: 7/10

Konsa had a good time on the pitch until the second-half introduction, as he found keeping Scamacca at bay far more comfortable than Antonio. Moreover, he will count himself unlucky for the deflection that led to West Ham’s winner, although his performances have been much better in recent weeks than last season.

Lucas Digne: 6/10

Digne’s struggles continue from left-back as the Frenchman could not influence the game in any manner despite being afforded plenty of space to operate on the flanks. Defensively he still had a strong performance, but more is expected of him when the team has the ball in the final third.

Boubacar Kamara: 7/10

Kamara continued with his tidy displays since signing for the club. The former Marseille star was good in midfield and offered plenty of passing options for the forward line alongside Douglas Luiz. More importantly, he was up to the challenge posed by Soucek and Rice.

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Douglas Luiz: 6/10

While his place in the lineup is not guaranteed still, possibly due to his contractual situation, the Brazilian put in a tidy performance and looked comfortable playing alongside competitor Kamara. Whether he starts the next game remains to be seen, but Villa are far weaker in midfield without him.

John McGinn: 5/10

Has the Aston Villa captaincy become a burden for McGinn? It looks like it, as the midfielder continues to underwhelm on the pitch. While his bursting runs and probable balls are still a thing, there’s no end product to his attacking contributions.

Philippe Coutinho: 6/10

Coutinho could consider this game a step in the right direction. The Brazilian was lively in the attack but could not find the killer instinct he is revered for, in football. However, he did have a decent game and should continue to grow from here on.

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Ollie Watkins: 6/10

Contrastingly, Watkins’s influence in the final third seems to be waning after a bright start to the season. Still, the striker’s hard work and application had no fault, only the energy in doing that was lacking.

Danny Ings: 6/10

Ings struggled like his strike partner, although his movements caused plenty of problems for West Ham’s defence. More importantly, he was not fed with good chances by his midfielders, which, had it happened, the outcome might have been different.

SUBSTITUTES

Emiliano Buendia: 6/10

Buendia was involved heavily in the late pressure from Villa but could not make anything happen that resulted in an equaliser.

Jacob Ramsey: 5/10

With the game goalless at that stage, Ramsey was sent in for a more conservative Luiz. His presence did not yield anything valuable.

Leon Bailey: 5/10

Bailey was Gerrard’s immediate response to going a goal down, although the Jamaican proved ineffective despite getting into many promising positions.

West Ham United

Lukasz Fabianski: 6/10

A better performance from Fabianski after some terrible displays between the sticks before this. The Polish stopper was barely called into action as Villa attackers did not have the rhythm inside the penalty box, although he was commanding whenever called upon.

Ben Johnson: 6/10

Moyes will rue that Johnson joined others in the injury room but would have been somewhat pleased with his performances against Villa. He was kept busy at the back as Villa remained lively on his side, but he stood his ground.

Thilo Kehrer: 7/10

Kehrer will be happy with his display after a difficult start to life against Brighton last weekend. Still, the comfort zone at the backline is yet to be achieved, but he did look composed at the prospect of facing multiple attacks.

Kurt Zouma: 8/10

Zouma was rock solid at the back and took control of many tricky situations caused due to the tricky movements of both Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins. The Frenchman was composed at the back when his team took the lead, and more so when Villa were applying all the pressure in search of an equaliser.

Aaron Cresswell: 6/10

While it was a modest performance from Cresswell, it was still much better than his displays from the first three games. He kept up with his backline teammates and put in a tidy display juggling between being centre-half and occasional left-back.

Emerson Palmieri: 6/10

A decent outing for the Hammers’ new boy was unfortunately hauled off at half-time. Before that, he was a lively presence on the left side and gave Moyes a different option.

Declan Rice: 9/10

A superb display from West Ham’s leading man, who seems to have finally come to life this season. Rice had a hand in the build-up to the opening goal and was a real presence in the middle of the park, getting into tackles and challenges that kept the momentum with his team.

Tomas Soucek: 7/10

Soucek had a different profile in this game compared to midweek, as Rice was playing slightly advanced, while the Czech midfielder stood behind screening the defence. In this match, the duo looked solid and should continue in the setup.

Jarrod Bowen: 5/10

Bowen has yet to hit any form for the Hammers this season, putting in another sub-par performance. He could not influence the attack with the ball at his feet and struggled for relevance. The fact that West Ham sat behind for most parts did not help, as he proved ineffective in becoming the outlet to lead counters.

Pablo Fornals: 7.5/10

Fornals did not have an excellent game from an attacking point of view, but Moyes will take such displays and the goal he scored any day over a defeat. The Spaniard’s solitary striker proved the difference, which was also his team’s first of the season after four games.

Gianluca Scamacca: 5/10

Scamacca may have understood the difference between the Premier League and Europa League. The striker was afforded his first start after a good performance in midweek but failed to take his chances. His team sitting behind also did not help, and in hindsight, if that was the plan, Michail Antonio should have started the game anyway.

SUBSTITUTES

Vladimir Coufal: 5.5/10

Like many West Ham players, Coufal continues to struggle for relevance. Johnson’s injury afforded him ample time on the pitch but did not produce any good moments.

Said Benrahma: 7/10

It is ironic how Benrahma has failed when starting games but performs well off the bench. It was a similar case here, as his introduction brought about a different energy in the attack for West Ham.

Michail Antonio: 7/10

Luckily for Moyes, dropping Antonio from the lineup did not cost his side too much. In hindsight, the striker should have started instead of Scamacca, considering how the game plans seemed.

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