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David Moyes had said that West Ham needed to ‘promise less, deliver more’, and it would appear that message has been taken on board as they’ve produced two wins from three unbeaten games.
However, their stalemate at Old Trafford last time out leaves them safe from the drop, so there could potentially be a drop off in standards here.
We certainly wouldn’t expect them to repeat performances like the 4-0 and 3-1 wins over Norwich and Watford just prior to that latest result.
The visitors have the bit between their teeth at present and also possess two wins from three unbeaten games, most notably overcoming Arsenal last time out after Mikel Arteta’s men had just downed Liverpool and Man City.
Those three points have taken them above the Hornets and outside the relegation zone for the first time since February, and they’ll enter the final day with greater belief than a Bournemouth side clinging on by their nails and a Watford team that have just sacked a proven survivor in head coach Nigel Pearson.
Although West Ham have seen an average of 2.95 goals per game this season and Villa 2.86, with so much at stake for one side any notion of swashbuckling attacking displays should be hit on the head, at least as far as the early stages are concerned.
Indeed, Villa have kept things tighter in recent outings as six of their last seven have featured under 2.5 goals, while they’ve only lost the first half once in nine outings since the restart as the match was goalless at that point in over half of these.
Villa’s marginally better goal difference is all that separates them from Watford heading into the final day, so results elsewhere could well have an impact on their approach as the fixture wears on.
With that in mind, we wouldn’t be entirely comfortable backing a low-scoring affair, as no doubt Dean Smith will receive word in the dugout should Watford take a lead at Arsenal and subsequently push his own side into being more adventurous.
West Ham hold an identical W3-D5-L1 record to Villa at half time over their last nine, while they’ve been level at the break in 10 of 20 fixtures now. In fact, excluding the top five in the table, the Hammers have lost the first half just once in 15 matches, drawing at that point in four of the last seven.
Meanwhile, excluding the same bracket of opposition, Villa have drawn four of six unbeaten first halves, while the reverse of this fixture back in September finished goalless.
WEST HAM V ASTON VILLA ODDS AVAILABLE HERE
ODDS ARE CORRECT AS OF 22/7/2020 HOWEVER ARE SUBJECT TO FLUCTUATIONS