West Ham climb back out of relegation zone after home draw with Aston Villa



Posted Monday, March 13, 2023 by PA

West Ham climb back out of relegation zone after home draw with Aston Villa

Said Benrahma’s penalty lifted West Ham back out of the relegation zone after a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

The Hammers fell behind to an Ollie Watkins header but Benrahma hit back from the spot after Lucas Paqueta was fouled.

West Ham started the day in the bottom three after Bournemouth’s shock win over Liverpool.

They knew a victory would lift them 14th, but they were unable to find a winner with Danny Ings drawing a blank against his old club.

Nonetheless, a draw moved them up to 17th ahead of Bournemouth on goal difference and stretched West Ham’s unbeaten streak against Villa to 10 matches, going back to 2015.

The Hammers are the only team in the top flight yet to score in the opening 15 minutes of a match this season, and that trend continued with Nayef Aguerd steering a Declan Rice free-kick wide and Benrahma volleying Jarrod Bowen’s cross over the top.

Instead, against the run of play, Villa took the lead in the 17th minute with their first attempt on goal, Watkins heading in Alex Moreno’s cross.

The goal made Watkins the first Villa player to score in four consecutive away Premier League matches since Dwight Yorke in 1998.

But West Ham hit back in the 26th minute after Paqueta’s shot was headed off the line by Watkins.

The Brazil midfielder went to retrieve the loose ball and was clumsily brought down by Leon Bailey, with Benrahma confidently converting the penalty high into the net of World Cup-winner Emiliano Martinez.

Villa should have gone in at half-time ahead after another penetrating run by Moreno, whose pass found Jacob Ramsey in the box.

Ramsey squared the ball to Watkins, four yards out, but West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola spread himself and somehow kept the shot out.

Just 20 seconds after the restart Paqueta’s cross found Benrahma at the far post but his volley was straight at Martinez.

Benrahma was in the mood for more goals and he skipped past Matty Cash and Ezri Konsa on the edge of the area before hitting a fierce drive which Martinez tipped over.

Rice survived a VAR check for a foul in the area on Emiliano Buendia which prompted a bout of pushing and shoving, with West Ham’s frustration at Villa’s incessant timewasting beginning to show.

Both teams could have won it late on with Benrahma’s volley at the far post deflected wide by Villa sub Ashley Young and Jhon Duran’s close-range shot clutched by Areola.

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