Match Analysis: West Ham United 1-0 Aston Villa

Kevin Nolan, Carlton Cole
© PA Photos
Sports Mole takes a closer look at today's Premier League clash between West Ham United and Aston Villa at Upton Park.

West Ham United got their Premier League campaign off to a good start with a 1-0 home win against Aston Villa this afternoon.

Sports Mole examines whether the Midlands team deserved to come away pointless.

West Ham statistics:
On target 1
Possession 33%
Corners 6
Fouls 17

Aston Villa statistics:
Shots 12
On target 1
Possession 67%
Corners 4
Fouls 8

Was the result fair?

Yes. Aston Villa started brightly, but West Ham settled into the match and took control midway through the first half. Kevin Nolan's goal came five minutes before half time and that put the home side firmly in control. They took their foot off the gas slightly in the final 20 minutes. Villa huffed and puffed but they could not create even a decent chance at goal.

West Ham's performance

West Ham looked steady in defence, which is not something that you would normally associate with the Hammers. It is, however, something that you expect from a Sam Allardyce team. They took the chance when it presented itself and looked comfortable in defending that lead. Hammers fans will be well pleased with the three points, but they will know that there is plenty of room for improvement.

Aston Villa's performance

Villa were quite poor today. It looked as if they might be up for it in the first 20 minutes, but their crisp passing became sloppy and they gave away a string of free kicks in areas from which West Ham could launch the ball into the box. Darren Bent hardly had a kick and looked completely isolated. Steven Ireland tried to pull the strings, but with no success.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Mohamed Diame: The 25-year-old ran his socks off on his debut for the club. He faded slightly as the match wore on, but he had put in a great shift. Other notable performances came from James Collins, who was a rock at the back, and Ricardo Vaz Te. However, I have opted for Diame, as he was a real handful for Villa.

Referee performance

Mike Dean had a decent game. The only point up for debate is the goal, as there were suspicions of offside. The replays showed that it was very close, but the correct decision was made, as the ball had come off Ciaran Clark last. There were a lot of fouls given in the match, but the managers should look to curb their players' reckless challenges before blaming the referee in this match.

Biggest gaffe of the game

It wasn't really a game of gaffes, to be fair. Carlton Cole spurned the best chance when he got his head to Matt Taylor's second-half free kick, but guided his effort wide. If you want to count all of Villa's misplaced passes as gaffes, then there are hundreds of examples to choose from.

What next?

West Ham: The Hammers face a trip to Swansea next Saturday, but will no doubt have to improve going forward if they are to take anything from the game. Today's defensive performance will give them hope of grabbing a result.

Aston Villa: Everton roll up to Villa Park next Saturday and Paul Lambert will know that a big improvement is sorely needed. Their passing was sloppy and they had no teeth going forward. It is going to be a tough week of training for the Villa players, I feel.

Kevin Nolan, Carlton Cole
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Result: West Ham 1-0 Aston Villa
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