Relegation tension to see cagey affair
The day of reckoning is upon us with the final day of the Premier League season taking place on Sunday. West Ham United host Aston Villa at the London Stadium with the impetus on the visitors with a win expected to be enough to escape relegation. Dean Smith’s men are only above the drop zone on goal difference by just one goal, -26 compared to Watford’s -27. The Hornets also fare in the capital away to Arsenal, who are set to have a big say on the relegation battle after losing to Villa on Tuesday evening. The Villans are narrow favourites more due to having more to play for than the Hammers.
Last time out
David Moyes’ men also did Aston Villa a favour by beating Watford 3-1 in their last home outing. They flew out of the blocks, building a two-goal lead inside the first 10 minutes and a third came about that length of time before the break. Michail Antonio got the ball rolling nutmegging keeper Ben Foster, a flying header from inspired signing Tomas Soucek earnt the two-goal cushion and a long range whipped effort from Declan Rice had the Londoners all but safe relegation at half time. The Hornets hit back through Troy Deeney in the 49th minute in what would prove to be Nigel Pearson and Craig Shakespeare’s last game for the club in the dugout.
After conceding a heartbreaking late equaliser at Everton the game before, Villa grabbed themselves a lifeline in keeping a clean sheet and beating the Gunners 1-0 on Tuesday night, meanwhile Watford were handed a 4-0 drubbing at home to Manchester City, only creating 0.10 expected goals. It was one of the Birmingham-based sides’ best performances of the season, holding on to Trezeguet’s 27th minute volley and did not concede a single shot on target in the process.
A budding partnership
The visitors have only conceded once in their last three games, with Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings gaining a firmer understanding contributing to a much more solid backline. A transformation of their leaky nature this season in which the Villans have had the second worst record in the division. Aged 22 and 27 respectively, Villa may have discovered an excellent partnership if they can smash past the final hurdle and stay up.
This is an enormous game for Aston Villa, COVID-19 makes the financial constraints of relegation tougher, some would say it is more vital than ever. They should do enough to stay up on the buzzer.