Well. That went about as expected, didn’t it? A goalless draw between two teams in the lower-mid table. Or were we expecting a 4-3 thriller?
For all the talk about the negative tactics of Sam Allardyce, at least the hosts managed to get a few shots in, particularly at the beginning of the match. After Andreas Weimann saw his strike saved in the fifth minute, the Irons were off and running. Jack Collison had a shot blocked, Kevin Nolan went wide, even Razvan Rat had a go. Who needs traditional strikers, anyway? Oh, except West Ham still never managed to get the ball in the back of the net. But at least they looked as though they could manage it, which was more than could be said for Aston Villa.
You have to wonder if, by the end of it, Paul Lambert was completely content with just a point. Yes, a 3-5-2 formation often signals a willingness to play for a draw, but with Villa’s effectiveness on the counter, they can pull off wins without much possession — see the Manchester City match, for example. But that match was the last time Villa scored, with Lambert’s men now having gone four straight without a goal. And considering the manager left three strikers on the bench, using just one sub (to replace the injured Weimann), it’s possible Lambert simply isn’t concerned by that statistic.
West Ham United: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Rat (Diame 90) Tomkins, Reid, Noble, Collison (C Cole 63), Nolan, Downing, Jarvis (J Cole 62), Morrison
Subs not used: Adrian, O’Brien, Potts, Maiga
Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Bacuna, Vlaar, Clark, Baker, El Ahmadi, Westwood, Sylla, Weimann (Kozak 57), Benteke
Subs not used: Steer, Helenius, Herd, Bowery, Tonev, Johnson