Sunday, February 10, 2013
Hammers lose heartbreaker at Villa
Penalties cost West Ham a vital win today in a drenched Villa Park. Mark Noble tripped Christian Benteke inside the box during the 74th minute. This led to a very easy first goal for the Villains. Just to make things worst Charles N'Zogbia scored 4 minutes later on a free kick that the Hammers defensive wall could have easily blocked. Not to mention Jussi Jaaskelainen basically fell to the ground and watched the ball go into the net. He had a lot of trouble throughout the game. In the second minute he bobbled an easy
Earlier in the game, though, the defense was playing a stellar game. While Villa had most of the possession, they were not able to get many shots off. Key blocks were mostly made by Andy Reid and recently added defender Emanuel Pogatetz.
The offense early on, however, was not as effective. They seemed to have a lot of trouble completing even simple passes. They were so uninvolved, in fact, that the team finished the first half with no shots on goal and no corner kicks. Aston Villa would finish the half with 62% of the possession.
West Ham was able to improve in the second half, firing many shots at goalie Brad Guzan. They just seemed to be unable to put the ball in the net, which is a problem that has been consistent lately. The Irons have just 8 goals away from home this season, which is the lowest amount in the Premier League.
They did manage to catch a late break though. In the 88th minute Ashley Westwood accidentally headed the ball over Guzan and West Ham came within one. With only five minutes left, the Hammers went full blast on offense, and twice came close to drawing the game. Guzan was top notch, however, and West Ham finished by earning their twelfth loss of the campaign. Aston Villa, on the other hand, can celebrate that for now they are out of the relegation zone.
Defender Joey O'Brien had to leave in the 23rd minute after he appeared to stretch his hamstring. The Irish international had just recently returned from a similar injury, so when he will return is still unknown.
The front line of Andy Carrol, Joe Cole, and Kevin Nolan all played good games and were given plenty of opportunities to score. The best chance actually came in the final seconds of the game. On the final corner kick, Joe Cole lofted the ball to Carlton Cole, who was stopped by Guzan, ending the Hammers chances for a draw.
With the loss, West Ham will just have to use the FA Cup break to prepare for a tough derby against Tottenham Hotspur.