West Ham had to settle for a hard-fought point against Aston Villa to climb out of the drop zone although only on goal difference.
It was an as-expected edgy affair, with the nerve levels high as West Ham seek to escape the relegation zone with time ticking on a dreadful campaign for all connected with the club.
Results earlier in the weekend added to the pressure on David Moyes, with both Everton and Bournemouth both securing victories to send our Hammers in the bottom 3 ahead of the match against Unai Emery’s side.
West Ham started lively, looking a side hungry to gain an early advantage in the hugely important game, but it wasn’t long until the visitors started to stamp their mark and exploit our sides vulnerabilities.
Thilo Kehrer was getting caught out too often as Villa threatened, then on just 17 minutes they were ahead, after lapse defending allowed the in-form Ollie Watkins to nod beyond Areola.
West Ham though didn’t crumble and regrouped well, although Aston Villa continued to look a threat when probing our defence.
Moyes’ side though worked hard and were rewarded just 10 minutes later, when Lucas Paquetá was fouled in the box – with Said Benrahma firing in from the spot to the relief of the Irons fans.
West Ham continued to push but there was a lack of cutting edge coupled with confidence evident for all to see, with chances not being taken by a side lacking in self belief.
The second half continued in the same fashion, with Moyes’ troops trying to gain the advantage, yet never looking overly confident in doing so, with the worry that Villa could also nick a goal on the counter with the threat of Watkins and his pace.
With the match crying out for changes to take advantage of a clearly below-par Aston Villa, Moyes typically held off until the latter stages – introducing Max Cornet and Pablo Fornals, with Scamacca again bizarrely ignored.
The match ended in a draw leaving our Hammers in a precarious situation, but with two home games to follow in the league against Southampton and Newcastle respectively – hope is there that positive results can be achieved.
The West Ham Way Podcast hosts Dave Walker and ExWHUEmployee were on hand to give their thoughts after the game, sharing their frustrations at an opportunity missed.
“I thought all in all it was a decent performance,” stated Ex. “We just didn’t have the clinical touch and couldn’t get the crucial goal that we deserved and would have won us the game.
“I think a better use of substitutions – like bringing on scamacca earlier for Ings who wasn’t in the game and Cornet for Soucek could have enabled us to get that goal, but yet again the subs were baffling.
”I also don’t know why we didn’t react to how Villa play from their goalkicks. Exactly the same as Brighton if we pushed up onto them and hassled them more it would have been more productive”
Walker also shared Ex’s confusion in why Scamacca wasn’t utilised with the side desperately seeking a winner.
“Possession in the first half wasn’t good enough,” added Walker. “Second half was an improvement but as is often the case we lacked that quality in front of goal.
“It was good to see Cornet available but why Scamacca wasn’t used when we’re chasing a win is anyones guess. Another frustrating day in a season that’s running out of games now…”