Aston Villa – West Ham: Jesse Lingard scored twice on debut as West Ham completed a season sweep of Aston Villa with a 3-1 win at Villa Park on Wednesday.
David Moyes’ Irons are now fifth with 38 points, two back of Liverpool and nine clear of the bottom half of the table.
Ollie Watkins scored late for Villa, who failed in a bid to match the Irons on points. They instead remain ninth with 32 points.
[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]
Three things we learned from Aston Villa – West Ham
1. Inspired Lingard a new man: In his first 30 minutes on loan from Manchester United, West Ham’s Jesse Lingard did everything but score a goal. He was effervescent enough that you’d wonder why United would let him go, completing 20-of-21 passes and attempting four shots.
Lingard’s last Premier League appearance was July 26 against Leicester City. He scored in a 2-0 win over the Foxes that sealed a UEFA Champions League berth. So, yeah, if you’re wondering, he is on a PL goal-scoring march.
2. Soucek this out: West Ham’s Czech midfielder now has eight goals this Premier League season after opening the scoring at Villa Park, a fact made all the more remarkable given his defensive credentials. Soucek scored 40 goals at Slavia Prague but 10 were from the penalty spot. Bruno Fernandes is the only out-and-out midfielder with as many PL goals this season, and he plays in a much more advanced position than Soucek.
3. More up and down from Villa: Aston Villa hasn’t won consecutive games since Boxing Day and hasn’t beaten a team above it on the table since handling Liverpool and Leicester City as part of its 4-0 start to the season. Watkins goal came a bit too late.
Man of the Match: Jesse Lingard
Have to feel good for the veteran making his first Premier League appearance in anything other than a Manchester United shirt. The brace is his fourth in the PL and first since Dec. 22, 2018 at Cardiff City.
Aston Villa – West Ham recap
Emiliano Martinez made three saves in the first half-hour as Lingard, Michail Antonio, and Said Benrahma all tried their luck for the visitors, who took seven of the match’s first 10 shots.
West Ham found its finish after the break when Soucek ran onto Benrahma’s through ball and beat Martinez in the 51st minute.
It was 2-0 five minutes later off the boot of Lingard, who scored his first goal since July 26 in his first PL appearance since… *checks notes* July 26.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Tyrone Mings saved Villa from a 3-0 deficit and hurt himself in the process. Antonio flicked a ball over Martinez and a sliding Mings hammered the ball off the line and skyward before getting caught in the netting. He played on.
Watkins pulled Villa within one but Lingard fooled Martinez with a dipping effort to make it 3-1.
<a class=”twitter-follow-button” href=”https://twitter.com/NicholasMendola”>Follow @NicholasMendola</a>