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West Ham United vs Aston Villa. Premier League.

London Stadium.

West Ham United 1

  • A Yarmolenko (85th minute)

Aston Villa 1

  • J Grealish (84th minute)

West Ham 1-1 Aston Villa: Villa secure Premier League survival despite late scare

Villa survive by just a point after picking up eight points from their final four games

Sunday 26 July 2020 21:47, UK

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the 1-1 draw between West Ham and Aston Villa in the Premier League

Aston Villa avoided Premier League relegation by just a single point after their 1-1 draw with West Ham.

It seemed an impossibility just a fortnight ago, but Dean Smith's side stayed up after Watford lost 3-2 at Arsenal, while Bournemouth are down despite their 3-1 win at Bournemouth.

West Ham had the best chance of a tetchy first half as Michail Antonio snatched an effort inches wide when one-on-one with Pepe Reina, before Jack Grealish put Villa ahead with six minutes remaining with a left-footed strike.

Jack Grealish celebrates after giving Villa a 1-0 lead at the London Stadium
Image: Jack Grealish celebrates after giving Villa a 1-0 lead at the London Stadium

Andriy Yarmolenko levelled just 100 seconds later as his long-range shot deflected off Grealish and looped over Reina, but Villa managed the final stages well and held on to survive after earning eight points from their final four games.

The Premier League bottom half

Player ratings

West Ham: Fabianski (5), Johnson (6), Diop (6), Ogbonna (6), Fredericks (4), Noble (6), Rice (5), Soucek (5), Fornals (5), Bowen (5), Antonio (4)

Subs: Haller (5), Yarmolenko (6), Lanzini (6), Anderson (NA)

Aston Villa: Reina (6), Guilbert (6), Konsa (7), Mings (7), Targett (6), Hourihane (6), McGinn (7), Luiz (6), Grealish (7), Trezeguet (6), Samatta (5)

Subs: Davis (6), Hause (NA), Nakamba (NA), El Ghazi (NA)

Man of the match: Jack Grealish

How Villa fought for season-defining result

As the goals flew in elsewhere in the first half, goalmouth action was at a minimum at the London Stadium.

West Ham had by far the best chance in the first 45 minutes as a long Issa Diop ball over the top caught Villa's centre-backs out, but Antonio lashed inches wide as he found himself through on goal with Pepe Reina 14 yards out.

Jack Grealish celebrates his goal at West Ham
Image: Jack Grealish celebrates his goal at West Ham

Villa had half chances as Mbwana Samatta and Jack Grealish struck straight at Lukasz Fabianski from inside the box, but Villa were more often than not happy to sit compact, nine behind the ball and restrict the hosts.

More on this story

With Watford losing at Arsenal but Bournemouth beating Everton, a West Ham goal would have put Villa in the bottom three, but the visitors upped the ante after the break.

Sub Keinan Davis lashed inches wide from an angle, but it was hometown hero Grealish who put them ahead, twisting and turning just inside the box before his effort struck the middle of Fabianski's goal, and questions will be asked of the West Ham stopper.

Dean Smith
Image: Dean Smith celebrates

But the Hammers were level just under two minutes later as Yarmolenko's effort from range took a touch off Grealish and fortuitously fell over Reina's head and in.

Team news

Both sides made just one change apiece; West Ham brought in Fredericks for Cresswell, who didn't make the bench.

For Villa, the injured Elmohamady made way for Guilbert, who played most of the game in their 1-0 win over Arsenal.

Villa kept the ball deep in West Ham's half for the final minutes, holding on for the point they needed, and a Premier League survival which seemed unlikely just four games ago.

Villa fan Smith, who lost his father to coronavirus during the lockdown period, tightened Villa up after the restart, and has led them to a second season in the Premier League, as attention now turns to the future of talisman Grealish in the summer window.

What the managers said...

Villa boss Dean Smith on BT Sport: "It's a magnificent achievement from everybody. We were resolute, and I said Jack would score today! It's a proud moment, and it actually feels better than last year going up in the play-offs. Whether we'd stayed up or gone down today, I'd have said the same thing: it was a big change we had to make at the football club at the end of the season. Not many people understand we had to build a new squad, people just looked at the money we spent.

Villa's change since the restart

(Per game) Before restart After restart
Shots on target faced 5.6 2.8
Goals conceded 2 1.1
Shots faced 18.1 10.1
Errors leading to shots 0.85 0.2

"We used the pandemic the best I feel - I lost my father in that period, so there was a lot of disappointment - but we worked very hard, because we knew we had to be defensively better. I'm really proud to lead this team."

Asked what he expects from Jack Grealish's future, Smith said: "I expect him to get drunk with me tonight, that's the only answer I can give you!

"I'll sit down with the sporting director, CEO and owners tomorrow, but let us enjoy this great achievement. We were written off by many people and we've managed to stay up on the final day."

West Ham boss David Moyes: "We didn't play so well today but if you put it in perspective the players have done a brilliant job. Today was a bit of a chance to play. But we were playing against an opponent with a lot to play for. A draw is about fair.

"We are trying to get a young, fresh group of players and they have done really well for us. Today is another experience for them. Every game in football matters. The standards they have set since lockdown have been really good.

"I think you have got to remember that the club spent £200million [recently]. We'll try and add to it if we can, if we can't we'll go with what we've got and there are a lot who can improve and a lot who have since lockdown, Micky Antonio is an example of that. We'll try and get the best out of the players and if we can add to it we will do."

Opta stats

  • Aston Villa's point means they have survived relegation from the Premier League, despite failing to keep a clean sheet away from home all season - only the tenth time this has happened in a Premier League campaign.
  • West Ham have finished this Premier League season with 39 points - their lowest in a top-flight campaign since 2010-11 (33) when they finished rock bottom of the competition.
  • In 19 games under David Moyes, West Ham recorded one more Premier League point (20) than they managed in their 19 previous games this season under Manuel Pellegrini (19).
  • Jack Grealish's opener was his 10th goal of the season for Aston Villa; the club's outright top scorer in all competitions in 2019-20.

What's next?

The 2020/21 Premier League season kicks off on September 12 2020, and will run until May 23 2021.

    Premier League clubs have voted for the summer transfer window to open the day after the 2019/20 season ends - on Monday July 27 - and run for 10 weeks.

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