Preview: West Ham United vs. Aston Villa

Sam Allardyce
© PA Photos
West Ham kick off their season back in the top flight against Aston Villa, who begin a new era under manager Paul Lambert.

West Ham United begin their first season back in the top flight with a clash against Aston Villa at Upton Park tomorrow.

Hammers boss Sam Allardyce has a host of new signings to consider for the match, including goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, Alou Diarra, Mohamaed Diame and Modibo Maiga, who could all contest for a starting spot.

Jack Collison is expected to miss out on his side's opener due to a knee injury that was aggravated in pre-season, while skipper Kevin Nolan should be fit to lead his side out after overcoming a toe problem.

Meanwhile, all eyes will be on new Villa boss Paul Lambert, who could start new boys Karim El Ahmadi and Ron Vlaar but will have to deal with the club's early injury woes.

The Scottish boss has been forced to deal with the losses of Marc Albrighton, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Richard Dunne, who all face lengthy spells on the sidelines due to their respective injury problems.

Possible lineups:

West Ham: Jaaskelainen; Demel, Reid, Collins, O'Brien; Tomkins, Diame, Noble, Vaz Te; Maiga, Cole

Aston Villa: Given; Lichaj, Clark, Vlaar, Bannan; Ireland, El Ahmadi, Delph, N'Zogbia; Bent, Weimann

Sports Mole says: 1-1

Sam Allardyce
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