West Ham United-Aston Villa Preview
After a season-opening loss, West Ham United have shown some splendid form.
The Hammers look to make it three Premier League wins in a row when they visit Aston Villa on Monday night.
West Ham (2-1-1) opened the Premier League season with a disheartening 5-0 home defeat to defending champions Manchester City. However, the Hammers never sulked or dwelled on the setback. Instead, they've picked themselves up to go unbeaten in the three league matches that have followed. They've also posted a League Cup victory to boot.
Forward Sebastien Haller has paced the West Ham offense, scoring half of the team's six Premier League goals.
"The players are having more trust in what they must do in every game," manager Manuel Pellegrini told West Ham's official website. "Football can be so quick to change, though, that you must understand it is not just a matter of trust, it is to play as a team. Eleven players defending, and then with the ball, eleven players making movements. And, when you have that trust, you have positive mentality in your players."
Looking to keep the trust flowing, the Hammers return from the international break also looking to extend a five-game road unbeaten streak (4-1-0) over all competitions that dates to last season. West Ham have just one victory in their last nine games at Aston Villa, though they haven't played there since Boxing Day 2015.
"Villa is a difficult team," Pellegrini said. "Their stadium is very important for them, but we go there as we do in all the other games - try to win."
The Villans' (1-0-3) return to the Premier League has had its moments of positivity, highlighted by a 2-0 home win over Everton on Aug. 23. Two of their defeats have also been determined by one-goal margins.
"I feel we can improve," manager Dean Smith told Villa's official website. "We're tough to beat, but we haven't played as well as we can. There's a lot more to come. We have shown glimpses of what we can do. But, we need to be more consistent in the domination part of the game."
Four different players have scored goals in league play for Villa, who feel an evening match in the heart of prime-time will only add to the intensity seen already at Villa Park in the early days of the season.
"The last game at Villa Park (versus Everton) was rocking," Smith said. "We need to do that again under the floodlights on Monday."
Updated September 14, 2019