West Ham at Villa Park, points make prizes and mind the gap

Football is a funny old game. Manchester City win the League last season and get beaten by Norwich this season. Norwich though have the right attitude though and all things point to a good season for them. Now, the season that follows might not be so good, but that is for then, not now.

I mean, look at Wolves. Last season was great for them, but this time out they're below us. Wolves will get better but I think the message here is that it's not just about one season, it's about what you build. Norwich have done well, but the Premier League is a beast and it's still very early.

And that is why this season was always going to hard for us too. And it's why West Ham will be tough tonight. But not impossible.

There are always two sides

So while on one hand I can easily write that the season is still early, if we win tonight, the best we can hope for is to end up in 13th place from 18th. Now that might seem like a big leap and you could argue it is, but if we don't win tonight the gap is going to feel bigger than just the three points we should get tonight.

And should has two sides. The side of should I mean isn't that we should win, it's that we should get three points to feel a bit safer or better off. If you understand?

o beer

Updates and team news coming. No beer tonight though, I've got to be in the car for 6am tomorrow morning and if I start, I find it hard to stop.

Manager talks West Ham

Match facts from the BBC


  • Aston Villa have lost just two of their last 18 home league games against West Ham (W8, D8).
  • West Ham are looking to secure back-to-back league wins against Villa for the first time since January 2006.

Aston Villa

  • Villa have lost 15 of their past 17 Premier League matches, with their solitary win coming against Everton in their most recent home fixture.
  • They have won seven of their last nine home games in all competitions (W7, L2).
  • Dean Smith's side have only kept one clean sheet in their last 10 matches in all competitions.
  • Aston Villa have won just one of their last 16 Monday Premier League matches (D5, L10).
  • Opposition teams have scored 23 goals in the last nine Premier League games at Villa Park.

West Ham United

  • West Ham have made their best league start since 2012-13, when they also had seven points from four games.
  • They have won five of their last seven league matches (D1, L1).
  • Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini has won five of his past six matches against Villa, drawing the other.
  • They are unbeaten in four away matches (W3, D1), having previously taken one point from eight fixtures on the road.
  • Sebastien Haller has scored three goals in three Premier League games.