MX23RW : Sunday, April 21 04:50:25| >> :600:101453046:101453046:
Feb 2, 2016 at 7.45pm UK at ​London Stadium
West HamWest Ham United
Aston Villa
Antonio (58'), Kouyate (85')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Ayew (17')

Preview: West Ham United vs. Aston Villa

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Premier League clash between West Ham United and basement side Aston Villa.

Aston Villa's bid to pull off the great escape will continue on Tuesday when they travel to West Ham United in the Premier League.

Remi Garde's side are currently 10 points from safety at the foot of the table and will not relish travelling to top-four chasing West Ham, who have only been beaten five times in their 23 league matches this term.

West Ham

Dimitri Payet of West Ham United celebrates scoring his second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Newcastle United at the Boleyn Ground on September 14, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. © Getty Images

West Ham threatened to challenge for the top four last season after starting the 2014-15 campaign so impressively, but their form tailed off in the second half of the season and they were made to settle for 12th position. It is now a new era under Slaven Bilic and an impressive campaign to date has left the Hammers in sixth spot in the table.

Indeed, the capital side are actually only one point behind fifth-placed Manchester United and just six points off the top four. Only Leicester and Tottenham Hotspur have suffered fewer league defeats than West Ham this term and Bilic's side will enter this match off the back of just one loss in their last 10 league matches.

What's more, the Hammers are currently enjoying a nine-match unbeaten run at home in the Premier League. They have not found it straightforward against Villa, however, with the last two league matches at Upton Park finishing 0-0.

West Ham will also enter this match off the back of a 0-0 draw, which came away to Liverpool in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Their last league match was also a draw, but it proved to be a good point at home to Manchester City. Chelsea and Liverpool have both been beaten at Upton Park in the league this season and Bilic has made the fans believe that a top-four challenge is possible.

West Ham will be expected to triumph at home to teams below them in the table, but they have some tough away games against Southampton and Norwich City to come later this month and it is in those matches where Bilic's side will show whether they are capable of claiming a European spot this term.

Recent form: DWWWLD
Recent form (all competitions): WWWLDD

Aston Villa

Remi Garde appears ahead of the FA Cup game between Wycombe Wanderers and Aston Villa on January 9, 2016© Getty Images

Villa can look to rivals West Bromwich Albion as they attempt to pull off the great escape this season. The Baggies only collected 13 points from their first 23 games of the 2004-05 season - the same as Villa - but they managed to remain in the top flight. Lightning rarely strikes twice in the same place, however, and Garde's team have a serious task on their hands.

There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a very disappointing campaign for Villa, who have only won two of their 23 league games this season. It will not come as much of a surprise that they are the lowest scorers in the league (18), while they have conceded 38 times, which is up there with the poorest records in the division.

Tim Sherwood's inability to put together a consistent run of form led to the former Tottenham manager losing his job at Villa Park, but Garde, after a tough start, has shown signs of his influence in recent weeks. Indeed, Villa are unbeaten in their last three Premier League matches, which is their longest run since December 2014.

A 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on January 12 gave the team a boost and they followed up that victory with back-to-back draws against Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion. Their confidence will not have been helped at the weekend, however, when they were dumped out of the FA Cup courtesy of a 4-0 home defeat to Manchester City.

Villa have also not won on the road in the league since the opening weekend of the season. Since that victory over Bournemouth, they have lost 10 of their 13 matches, drawing three times in the process. Victory at Upton Park, however, would give them a huge boost of confidence ahead of a decisive home match against fellow strugglers Norwich City at the weekend.

Recent form: DLLWDD
Recent form (all competitions): DWDWDL

Team News

Enner Valencia of West Ham United celebrates scoring his team's first goal against Manchester City at the Boleyn Ground on January 23, 2016© Getty Images

West Ham have been boosted by the signing of Nigerian international Emmanuel Emenike on loan from Fenerbahce, but the striker is unavailable for this match as he waits for international clearance.

Centre-back James Tomkins is also a doubt after suffering a facial injury in the FA Cup against Liverpool, but Sam Byram is expected to return after missing the last match through suspension.

The Hammers are short in the final third, however, as Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho remain out of action.

As for Villa, forwards Rudy Gestede and Libor Kozak are both unavailable, while Carlos Sanchez, Ashley Westwood and Alan Hutton are still on the sidelines for the basement side.

Jack Grealish, Scott Sinclair and Ciaran Clark are all pushing for inclusion in Garde's starting team.

West Ham possible starting lineup:
Adrian; Byram, Reid, Collins, Cresswell; Noble, Kouyate, Song; Payet, Valencia, Moses

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Bunn; Richards, Okore, Clark, Cissokho; Bacuna, Gueye, Grealish; Gil, Ayew, Sinclair

Head To Head

There have been just five goals scored in the last five Premier League meetings between these two sides and as mentioned, each of the last two matches at Upton Park have finished goalless.

The points were also shared in a 1-1 draw when the pair met at Villa Park in the league on Boxing Day, while Villa have only lost one of their last five against the Hammers.

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We say: West Ham 2-0 Aston Villa

Villa's recent record against West Ham is actually quite strong, but it is difficult to predict anything other than a home win in this match. Both teams are without key forwards, but West Ham have the stronger squad.

The Hammers might need to be patient against a Villa side that will adopt a defensive shape and hope to threaten on the counter, but the hosts should have enough quality to collect all the points and continue their strong run of form.

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Nigeria's forward Emmanuel Emenike plays the ball during a Round of 16 football match between France and Nigeria at Mane Garrincha National Stadium in Brasilia during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 30, 2014
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