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Match Analysis: Aston Villa 2-1 West Ham United

Match Analysis: Aston Villa 2-1 West Ham
© PA Photos
Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at Aston Villa's 2-1 win over West Ham this afternoon, a match that saw the Villans move out of the relegation zone.

Aston Villa moved out of the Premier League relegation zone with a 2-1 win over West Ham United this afternoon.

After an uneventful first half Christian Benteke gave the hosts the lead from the penalty spot before Charles N'Zogbia doubled the advantage with a fine free kick.

An own goal from Ashley Westwood created a tense finale for Villa, but they held on to claim an important win.

Here, Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at a huge win for Paul Lambert's men.

Match statistics:

Aston Villa:
Shots 7
On target 2
Possession 45%
Corners 4
Fouls 15

West Ham:
Shots 13
On target 7
Possession 55%
Corners 10
Fouls 12

Was the result fair?

For a long time the match looked like it could go either way, and neither team would have been undeserving winners. It was an even game for the most part, so a draw would have been the fairest result, but you can't really begrudge Villa the win.

Aston Villa's performance

They probably had the best of the first half, and should have been ahead after a couple of minutes when Andreas Weimann missed a glorious chance. They looked unusually strong in defence, holding firm against the physical challenge of Andy Carroll, and put some nice attacking moves together too. Far from the finished product, but better from Villa.

West Ham's performance

The Hammers lacked attacking intent in the first half, but for a while they looked capable of pulling off a smash-and-grab away performance. They showed more enthusiasm when going forward in the second half, particularly when they fell behind, but still lacked ideas. Their game plan was to hoof the ball up to Carroll and hope he'd win the header, which didn't work. Their goal was very lucky, but they did defend well for the vast majority of the match.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Ciaran Clark: The Villa defender was instrumental in nullifying the threat of Carroll, putting in some fine clearances, one of which was from pretty much under his own bar to deny James Tomkins a simple tap-in. Speaking of Tomkins, he also had a good game, especially in the first half.

Biggest gaffe

Ashley Westwood's own goal was too unlucky to warrant this award, so he is lucky that Weimann missed an absolute sitter at the start of the match. Jussi Jaaskelainen spilt the ball straight to the striker, but he steered his shot wide from about six yards out with the goal gaping.

Referee performance

Mark Clattenberg had a good game. He didn't ruin it by blowing up for too many fouls, which can be easy to do given West Ham's style. The penalty was the big decision he had to make and he got it spot on. Mark Noble's tackle on N'Zogbia gave him no choice but to point to the spot.

What next?

Aston Villa: Villa face a tough trip to the Emirates Stadium to take on Arsenal in two weeks as they look to build on today's win.

West Ham: The Hammers have a London derby in their next match as they welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Upton Park.

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Christian Benteke is congratulated by team mate Simon Dawkins after scoring the opener against West Ham on February 10, 2013
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