15th April 2011
West Ham remained in the relegation zone as they lost 3:0 at Reebok Stadium, but the Hammers can significantly improve their survival chances with three points from this game. Aston Villa boosted their own survival hopes with a narrow victory over Newcastle and a good result at Boleyn Ground will see then virtually ensure Premiership status.
After largely struggling at the start of the Premiership campaign, West Ham showed a massive improvement in the second part of the season and the Hammers even managed to climb out of the relegation zone for a short period of time. The latest defeats to Manchester United and Bolton have set them back a little bit, but Avram Grant’s side still look pretty good and their latest performances at the Boleyn Ground should make Villa fear this away game. The Hammers have been pretty impressive at home of late, having won three straight games there before losing to Manchester United and there is no doubt they will be very motivated to return to winning ways. After quite a while, Avram Grant will be able to field his strongest squad and he is expected to stick to the 4-3-3 formation. Jack Collison has resumed training after spending over a year on the sidelines, but he is unlikely to feature, while Kurucz and Stanislas remain in the infirmary.
Despite boasting one of the most talented squads outside the top 4, Aston Villa have encountered numerous problems this season and they have yet to ensure Premiership survival. Gerard Houllier doesn’t look capable of getting the best out of his players, while it is more than evident that he has lost control over the dressing room. The Villans managed to end the poor run of results with an unconvincing victory over Newcastle last weekend and they thus improved their survival chances, but their dismal away form doesn’t give them much reason for hope before the trip to London. Villa have won just two away games this season and they are likely to continue the poor trend against very good West Ham side. Gerard Houllier has absolutely no injury worries and he is expected to field the same side that started the Newcastle game.
West Ham have shown massive improvement in the second part of the season and after beating Liverpool and Stoke at Boleyn Ground, the Hammers should be able to do the same against Aston Villa. The Villans largely struggle on the travels and are far from the desired form, so my advice is to bet on home win.
Verdict: Home win West Ham (1)
Best Odds: 11/8
Bookmaker: William Hill
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