Aston Villa head to the London Stadium with hope restored as they take on West Ham United on the final day of the Premier League season. The Villans have their fate firmly in their own hands, and will hope they find a Hammers side not quite at the races with their own safety now in the bag.
Where and when: London Stadium – 26 July, kick-off 16:00
Where you can see West Ham vs. Aston Villa: TBC
Last time: Neither side could make the breakthrough as the teams drew 0-0 at Villa Park in mid-September.
West Ham v Aston Villa Predictions and Preview
West Ham finally hit form at just the right time in recording back-to-back victories over Norwich City and Watford, two of the other teams who’ve been fighting relegation this season. That all but secured survival for David Moyes’s side, ahead of another fixture with a fellow side struggling towards the foot of the table.
Aston Villa weren’t struggling on Tuesday night though, as they held on for a monumental 1-0 victory over Arsenal. That took the Villans to two wins and a draw in their last three games, lifting them out of the relegation zone on goal difference ahead of Watford. The Hornets go to Arsenal themselves on Sunday, while Bournemouth – who are three points behind Villa with a similar goal difference – are at Everton.
A draw or a loss could still be enough for Villa to survive, but Dean Smith won’t want to leave anything to chance. He needs one more big performance from his players if his team is to avoid the ignominy of an immediate return to the Championship. That would be disastrous, even without considering the huge amounts of investment that went into the squad last summer.
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Aston Villa to win to nil
Aston Villa to win 1-0
Trezeguet to score first
Dropping out of the top flight would’ve been arguably even more disastrous for West Ham, but that’s no longer on the cards for the Irons. Their far superior goal difference to Villa and Watford meant Friday’s crucial victory virtually guaranteed their survival, which could mean one of two things in this game.
Either the Hammers will take their foot off the gas and prove less stiff competition for their fellow Claret and Blues. Or they’ll play with the freedom they can enjoy without the pressure of relegation hanging over their heads.
If you think it’ll be the latter, the home team are priced at 11/5 for the win. The bookmakers certainly seem to think the opposite, with the visiting Villans the 5/4 favourites to pick up the win that will likely guarantee their own safety. The draw is available at 11/4.
Whichever it’s to be, Moyes could be without Robert Snodgrass and Ryan Fredericks through injury, although both players are in with a chance of being fit. Villa, meanwhile, will be without Ahmed El Mohamady after the Egyptian suffered a hamstring injury on Tuesday. Wesley, Tom Wesley and Bjorn Engels are all out, while Neil Taylor is also a doubt with a hamstring problem.
One to watch for West Ham: Michail Antonio has been in astonishing form in recent weeks, scoring seven goals in his five games prior to Wednesday’s trip to Manchester United to lead his club to safety. That includes opening goals against Newcastle and Watford, as well as all four against Norwich in the Hammers’ 4-0 win. Antonio is 13/2 to break the deadlock yet again on Sunday.
One to watch for Aston Villa: Trezeguet’s recent performances have also been crucial to his team, with the Egyptian netting three goals in his last three games. That includes both of Villa’s goals in their 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace and the only goal against Arsenal. He is 8/1 to bag another vital goal by netting the opener here.
Long shot: Villa’s last victory over West Ham was a 1-0 triumph in 2015, with one Hammers win and two draws in their three encounters since. The visitors would have a great shot at staying up with a repeat of that result, which is priced at 19/2 in the latest betting odds for this game. With Trezeguet getting the goal again, those odds rise to 98/1.