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West Ham United v Aston Villa 2-1

Villa dominate most of the match. West Ham take both their chances. And I hate VAR.

West Ham United v Aston Villa - Premier League Photo by Neil Hall - Pool/Getty Images

Before the match Aston Villa were paired with Liverpool for the third round of the FA Cup. I somehow think Liverpool may not play the same group of kids they did the last time the clubs faced off in the cup and it will clearly be a challenge.

Back in the Premier League — West Ham and Villa both knew that three points could shoot them up the table into the top five. The hosts were boosted by the return of Michail Antonio.

Ross Barkley remains out for Villa and Dean Smith picked Conor Hourihane to fill out he midfield.

The start was..... terrible.

A long throw lead to the first chance for West Ham but Matt Targett was in good position to block it out for a corner. On that corner Ogbonna easily jumped over Matt Targett and headed it into the net. Two minutes and down a goal. Not sure Villa had a single pass before going behind.

West Ham United v Aston Villa - Premier League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

The picture doesn’t even do it full justice — Ogbonna had a running start against a stationary Matt Targett. There was only going to be one winner. Just so I’m clear — I have zero blame for Targett on the goal. The defensive system set him up to fail.

The reaction to goal was not great. Villa continued not control the ball and just chase West Ham. The midfield was unable to held the defense turn any possession into control of the game.

Around the twenty minute mark — Villa finally had a couple of chances. A Trezeguet shot was deflected wide. The corner was taken wide to Targett and he found Konsa at the far post. Sadly, the defender couldn’t keep the header down. Conor Hourihane forced a quality save from a free kick as well as Villa started to look a little more confident.

At the 25’ mark — Captain Jack Grealish grabbed the ball and drove Villa forward West Ham backed off because Villa had a decent number of runners. Jack took a shot from just outside the box and fired it into the net (helped by a very slight deflection as well). 1-1 and the early deficit was erased.

Villa continued to push after the goal taking control of the match. West Ham seemed happy to let Villa have the ball in deep positions and try to make someone besides Jack Grealish create a chance (especially when the captain was wide left). Conor Hourhane hit the side netting from yet another free kick earned by Grealish. The first half whistle was disappointing to hear because it felt like a goal was coming for Villa.

Benrahma and Haller came on for West Ham. And it took 28 seconds for them to make a mark. Benrahma flicked a pass into the box, Bowen headed into the net. 2-1. Once again, early in a half Villa give up a goal. Really disappointing.

West Ham, helped by the goal and the formation chance, looked much better after the goal. Villa no longer had the man advantage in the midfield it was up to Luiz to start attacks.

The next big chance fell to Trezeguet after a wonderful counter attack from Grealish and Watkins. Somehow the Egyptian winger couldn’t beat the keeper from inside the six. It was good position from Fabianski but still with the amount of open net available, Trezeguet should score. It came in a spell of Villa domination.

Trezeguet’s shirt was pulled twice in the box by Declan Rice and went down after the second one. This week Mr. VAR didn’t take the spot kick away. Villa took off Trez and Hourihane with El Ghazi and Traore coming on.

Watkins stepped up, sent the keeper the wrong way and put it off the cross bar.

After the miss, Villa continued to push. West Ham took every chance to take all the time the could. Grealish was everywhere trying to push the team. Traore fired a powerful shot that was easily caught.

Past the 90’ mark, Ollie Watkins put the ball into the net off a wonderful Targett cross. Mr. VAR decided his sleeve was offside and completely ignored the fact that he was being held. Goal removed. What a stupid system.

This makes it two weeks in a row Villa can feel hard done by VAR. In the end Villa pushed but couldn’t find another equalizer.

Villa were the better team for most of the match. West Ham took both of their chances. Villa did not. Frustrating result.