Douglas Luiz’s penalty made it six goals this season in all competitions for the Brazil midfielder
Aston Villa continued their fine form under manager Unai Emery by holding off West Ham to move back to the brink of the Premier League’s top four.
Tuesday marks the anniversary of Emery’s appointment as Villa boss and the Spaniard has transformed the team since taking over from Steven Gerrard.
An entertaining first half, typical of the free-flowing football Emery has encouraged at Villa Park, saw Douglas Luiz open the scoring and the Brazil midfielder also converted a penalty just after half-time.
A deflected shot by Jarrod Bowen led to a nervy spell for the hosts, but England striker Ollie Watkins then fired in his eighth goal of the season for Villa.
Substitute Leon Bailey struck late on to wrap up an 11th straight league victory at home, Villa’s best run since winning 13 in a row when they were reigning European champions in 1983.
Before Emery’s first game in charge, Villa were 16th in the Premier League – one point off the relegation zone. But he steered them to European qualification last season and now they are back within a point of the Champions League places.
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Douglas Luiz relishing Emery approach
Several players have been revitalised by Emery’s arrival at Villa Park, including Douglas Luiz. Previously seen as a holding midfielder, he scored three league goals during Gerrard’s tenure, which lasted just under a year.
But the adventurous, attacking formation that Emery has deployed – with three at the back and Matty Cash and Lucas Digne as wing-backs – allows Douglas Luiz the freedom to move into a more advanced role.
The 25-year-old had already forced West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola to turn a shot wide before scoring for a sixth league game running at Villa Park.
Nicolo Zaniolo, assisting an Italian investigation into alleged illegal betting activity, remains available to Villa and the on-loan Italy winger cut the ball back for Watkins, who in turn laid it off for Douglas Luiz to beat Areola with a 20-yard strike into the bottom corner.
The partnership that Watkins and summer signing Moussa Diaby have already struck up has also proved pivotal for Villa this season.
Before the game they had created 14 chances for one another in the Premier League this season – four more than any other duo – and Diaby made two more for Watkins in the first half.
Watkins dragged the first effort wide from right in front of goal before unleashing a low strike from outside the box that Areola had to palm into the side-netting.
Douglas Luiz doubled Villa’s lead, slotting a penalty down the middle after Ezri Konsa had been fouled, before Watkins, who scored his third goal for England during the international break, made no mistake after latching on to John McGinn’s long ball, firing inside the near post.
For Villa’s fourth, Youri Tielemans fed the ball into fellow substitute Bailey, who showed neat footwork inside the box before curling inside the far post.
- How did you rate Aston Villa’s performance? Have your say here
Paqueta poor for compatriot’s double
West Ham’s development under David Moyes has also been highly impressive, if a little more gradual.
After winning the Europa Conference League last season, the Hammers have continued to look sharp and Bowen tested Emiliano Martinez in the first half of this tussle while Lucas Paqueta lost his bearings in a good position and sent an acrobatic overhead kick away from goal.
But the Brazilian, who almost joined Manchester City in the summer, switched off as he let compatriot Douglas Luiz get a free run towards goal to score the opener.
Just after half-time, a loose pass backwards from Paqueta allowed Konsa to nip in front of Edson Alvarez, who brought down the Villa defender for the penalty.
Bowen gave the Hammers hope as a speculative effort resulted in his 100th career goal for a league club – his first also came at Villa Park in August 2017, earning Hull a 1-1 draw in the Championship.
Cash turned a Nayef Aguerd effort behind as the visitors briefly threatened an equaliser, but they were unable to avoid a third league defeat – their first two were against Manchester City and Liverpool.
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- Match Stats
- Live Text
1E Martínez2Cash4Konsa14P Torres12Digne7McGinn44Kamara6Douglas Luiz22Zaniolo19Diaby11Watkins
- 1E Martínez
- 14P Torres
- 6Douglas Luiz
- 22ZanioloSubstituted forBaileyat 76’minutes
- 19DiabySubstituted forTielemansat 85’minutes
- 3Diego Carlos
- 33EmersonBooked at 54mins
- 28SoucekSubstituted forKudusat 67’minutes
- 10Lucas PaquetáSubstituted forIngsat 86’minutes
- 9AntonioSubstituted forFornalsat 90’minutes
Home TeamAston VillaAway TeamWest HamPossessionHome58%Away42%ShotsHome15Away14Shots on TargetHome7Away4CornersHome8Away7FoulsHome8Away15
Match ends, Aston Villa 4, West Ham United 1.
Second Half ends, Aston Villa 4, West Ham United 1.
Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Nayef Aguerd (West Ham United).
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match because of an injury Vladimír Coufal (West Ham United).
Attempt saved. Mohammed Kudus (West Ham United) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Pablo Fornals.
Foul by Boubacar Kamara (Aston Villa).
Emerson (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Aston Villa. Pau Torres tries a through ball, but Lucas Digne is caught offside.
Substitution, West Ham United. Pablo Fornals replaces Michail Antonio.
Goal! Aston Villa 4, West Ham United 1. Leon Bailey (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Youri Tielemans.
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Alphonse Areola.
Attempt missed. Leon Bailey (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Boubacar Kamara.
Substitution, West Ham United. Danny Ings replaces Lucas Paquetá.
Substitution, Aston Villa. Youri Tielemans replaces Moussa Diaby.
Foul by John McGinn (Aston Villa).
Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, West Ham United. Alphonse Areola tries a through ball, but Lucas Paquetá is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Kurt Zouma (West Ham United) header from the left side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by James Ward-Prowse with a cross.
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Player of the match
with an average of 8.59
- Aston VillaAston VillaAston Villa
- West HamWest Ham UnitedWest Ham United
- Squad number11Player nameWatkinsAverage rating
- Squad number6Player nameDouglas LuizAverage rating
- Squad number7Player nameMcGinnAverage rating
- Squad number31Player nameBaileyAverage rating
- Squad number19Player nameDiabyAverage rating
- Squad number2Player nameCashAverage rating
- Squad number4Player nameKonsaAverage rating
- Squad number44Player nameKamaraAverage rating
- Squad number14Player nameP TorresAverage rating
- Squad number12Player nameDigneAverage rating
- Squad number22Player nameZanioloAverage rating
- Squad number1Player nameE MartínezAverage rating
- Squad number8Player nameTielemansAverage rating
West Ham United
- Squad number23Player nameAreolaAverage rating
- Squad number20Player nameBowenAverage rating
- Squad number7Player nameWard-ProwseAverage rating
- Squad number10Player nameLucas PaquetáAverage rating
- Squad number33Player nameEmersonAverage rating
- Squad number19Player nameÁlvarezAverage rating
- Squad number5Player nameCoufalAverage rating
- Squad number4Player nameZoumaAverage rating
- Squad number27Player nameAguerdAverage rating
- Squad number28Player nameSoucekAverage rating
- Squad number14Player nameKudusAverage rating
- Squad number8Player nameFornalsAverage rating
- Squad number18Player nameIngsAverage rating
- Squad number9Player nameAntonioAverage rating
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