Aston Villa perspective: David Grimble, Up The Villa
We’re finally starting to see a settled side at Villa, and this has to be good news as we strive for consistency. Sadly Richard Dunne has once again suffered a setback in his bid to return to the first team action, and he might be a big miss for a defence that could certainly use some experience. Deadline day saw Villa sign two new players in Yacouba Sylla and Simon Dawkins, but I’d be surprised if either were given a start against West Ham.
Following the rather pleasing draw against our local neighbours West Brom, Villa typically followed that up by going out of the two cup competitions against lower league opposition. It’s time for an old football cliché here, but it might actually be a good thing as we can put all of our efforts into trying to stay in this division. A home loss to Newcastle was a disappointment, but a point away at Everton last time out offers some hope.
We lost 1-0 against the Hammers on the opening day of the season, with Kevin Nolan getting the only goal. We offered very little that day, and hopefully we put up more of a fight on Sunday, in what is a vitally important game for Aston Villa Football Club.
Charles N’Zogbia to score at 5.00. He’s returning to the kind of form that convinced us to spend £10 million or so, and he’s come close on a number of occasions. This is a good price for a player who should get a few opportunities.
Andy Carroll to score the last goal at 7.25. Aston Villa rarely make things easy. Given our penchant for conceding set-piece goals, Carroll could have a field day.
Christian Benteke to score the first goal at 6.00. The man is on fire, and in what has been a horrible season, he has at least been a shining light. He’s capable of scoring all types of goals, and the 6.00 on offer represents decent value here.
Score prediction: Aston Villa 2-1 West Ham (10.50)
West Ham perspective
New boy Emmanuel Pogatetz will be hoping for a start, but Sam Allardyce will likely keep faith with Matt Taylor on the left side of his defence. Andy Carroll should continue up front following his goal against Swansea, while Joe Cole is also pushing for a return.
The win over Swansea was a much-needed boost for the Hammers, who hadn't picked up maximum points since new year's day. 11th is still a respectable position for a newly-promoted side, but a lot of the early season promise has worn away over the last few months. Fans will be hoping that Andy Carroll's return could spark a revival.
West Ham haven't won at Villa Park since 2006, when Bobby Zamora and Marlon Harewood got the goals in a 2-1 victory. The Irons have won just two of the eleven meetings between the sides since then, but the 1-0 win earlier this season should boost hopes of a positive result on Sunday.
Both teams to score at 1.70. West Ham's defence isn't as solid as it was at the start of the season, and Villa aren't the best at the back themselves.
The draw at 3.30. With neither side brimming with confidence, the odds on the stalemate appeal.
Andy Carroll to score at 3.20. The big man will be hoping to maintain his goalscoring form against a defence that has conceded plenty of late.
Score prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 West Ham (6.50)