Premier League

Player ratings as Hammers miss chance to win

Ollie Watkins

FROM LONDON STADIUM – West Ham United failed to capitalise on their superiority as they dropped more home points in a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

The point takes the Hammers out of the relegation zone on goal difference, leapfrogging Bournemouth, but it was another frustrating afternoon for David Moyes’ side as they failed to pick up a much-needed win.

Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma were the goalscorers – the latter from the penalty spot after Lucas Paqueta had been knocked over by Leon Bailey.

The Hammers came into the game after failing to capitalise on the 4-0 thumping of Nottingham Forest on February 25 – losing to Brighton by the same scoreline a week later – while Villa came back into the game after ending a run of three successive defeats with back-to-back wins over Everton and Crystal Palace.

David Moyes acknowledged in his programme notes that character is as important as a player’s footballing ability when struggling, but his side got off to the worst possible start after Benrahma had volleyed over the game’s first clear cut chance.

Alex Moreno was allowed too much space on the left flank and his floated cross was nodded into the far corner by Watkins, whose clever movement saw him evade Nayef Aguerd with ease.

Ollie Watkins

Ollie Watkins opened the scoring / Craig Mercer/MB Media/GettyImages

Villa’s lead didn’t last long, however, as West Ham got themselves back into the game from the penalty spot. Paqueta’s bouncing shot from a Bowen corner was headed off the line, but the Brazilian picked up the rebound before being bundled over by Bailey. Benrahma took the penalty and smashed it past World Cup winner Emi Martinez.

Kurt Zouma could have nodded West Ham in front minutes later, before Watkins missed a glorious opportunity to restore Villa’s lead after failing to slide past Alphonse Areola from point-blank range.

The second half saw West Ham come out with a more positive attitude; Benrahma and Bowen the main protagonists as the relegation-threatened hosts pushed to take the lead.

Benrahma had a number of efforts on Martinez’s goal, some better than others, and did force him to tip a stinging shot over the crossbar. He also saw a late goalbound effort blocked by Ashley Young, following more good work from Bowen.

The elusive opening that West Ham needed failed to come though, and the visitors could have nicked it late on had Jhon Duran been able to sort his feet out quicker after Ezri Konsa rose highest to flick on a Villa corner. Instead, the American guided the ball…

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