West Ham at Villa Park, hope v reality, match facts and a video

I was going to write about how we had nothing to lose today, that even if we lost, we were still going to be fifteenth, but it turns out that that isn't true. If we lose and Wolves win, they'll go above us and we'll find ourselves one spot lower. I just hope this caution doesn't find it's way into our match today.

You see, we really don't have anything to lose because the season is three games in and we have three points. Now, that might be one point less than we had at this stage of the season, but victory today will put us two points better off than this stage last season. And that is progress.

The thing is, I'm reminded of what Christian Purslow said when he fired Dean Smith last season and I'm also reminded of the progress other managers have made in such a short period of time. So I worry for Gerrard and the reaction from supporters if we don't win, despite everything the manager has said this week.

"When you take over a club the size and the challenge of Aston Villa, there are numerous things you need to work on and progress: the team, the squad, the culture of the club, and the mentality of the players and staff around the building," said Gerrard.

"It takes time and it’s a process. I believe we’ll get there in the end. I didn’t expect any quick fix or overnight fix. We’re certainly working every minute we can to improve the team and get to those consistent levels.”

You see, it is a process and it does take time. But how much time, is the really important question. The manager hasn't even had a season, but he has had two transfer windows and a pre-season. So when is the time that it's actually fair to start questioning the manager?

The thing is, we know it's not easy and it rarely happens overnight, but surely there has to be markers or indicators. Many point to the effect Howe has had at Newcastle. Should that be the benchmark or is Howe the exception?

I know a win is important today for many reasons and West Ham are there for the taking as long as we have a go at them early and have them questioning why they have zero points after three games. We give them a little time to figure out we are there for the taking and it could get messy.

And don't ask me where I heard or read what I'm about to quote, but I saw this week that of all the Premier League sides Aston Villa had done the least amount of running on the pitch. If that stat is true, it needs to change today. I also heard on TV I think someone say that hope is a tease designed to prevent us accepting reality. If that is true, what should we be expecting after two transfer windows and a pre-season?

Time for a bacon sandwich and a strong cup of coffee. I'll be back or someone will, with the team news in a couple of hours.

The manager

Match facts from the BBC


  • West Ham are vying for a fifth consecutive league win against Aston Villa.
  • Villa's only victory in the past 12 Premier League meetings was by 1-0 at home in May 2015 (D5, L6).

Aston Villa

  • They have lost eight of their past 14 league matches and 14 of 30 under Steven Gerrard (W11, D5). Since Gerrard's first game in charge last November, the only current Premier League clubs to have lost more often in the division are Everton and West Ham, with 19 and 15 defeats respectively.
  • Villa are looking to earn consecutive home league wins in the same season for the first time since January 2021. Under Gerrard, they have followed up each of their four top-flight victories at Villa Park with a defeat in their next home league game.
  • Aston Villa have lost five Premier League fixtures after scoring first under Gerrard, a joint-high with Southampton over that period.
  • Ollie Watkins has been involved in seven goals in his past nine Premier League appearances, with four goals and three assists.
  • Danny Ings is winless and without a goal in all 10 Premier League appearances versus West Ham. It's the most games he has played against side without ever scoring.

West Ham United

  • West Ham have lost their opening three league games of a season without scoring for only the second time. It previously happened in 1971-72, when their fourth match was a 0-0 draw with Ipswich.
  • In English top-flight history, only four sides have gone four fixtures without a point or goal from the beginning of a season: Derby County in 1899, Stoke City in 1906, Preston North End in 1924, and Crystal Palace in 2017.
  • The Hammers have lost seven of their past nine Premier League away games, with their solitary win during that run coming at already relegated Norwich City in May.
  • This is West Ham's 1,000th Premier League fixture; they are the ninth club to reach this landmark.
  • They are on a four-match losing streak in the league - a fifth straight defeat would be their worst run since April 2017 under Slaven Bilic.
  • Manager David Moyes hasn't lost five consecutive Premier League games since a run of six with Everton ending in October 2005.
  • Moyes is unbeaten in 12 Premier League fixtures against Aston Villa since his Everton were beaten 1-0 at Villa Park in August 2010 (W7, D5).