Aston Villa sealed a dramatic final day escape from relegation as they drew with West Ham United 1-1 at the London Stadium.
In what was a cagey game in the capital considering the circumstances, it took until the 84th minute for the deadlock to be opened and it wasn’t going to be any other player than Jack Grealish as he scored with a great strike. The lead did not last very long though as just a minute later Andriy Yarmolenko hauled the Hammers level with a deflected strike but due to events elsewhere, a point was enough for Villa to stay in the Premier League.
Antonio spurns early chance
There were two other results that Villa had to concern themselves with on the day with Watford playing Arsenal and Bournemouth facing Everton. With the Hornets behind early against the Gunners, Dean Smith’s troops almost fell behind as in-form Michail Antonio latched onto Issa Diop’s raking pass but somehow put his effort wide of goal. In what was another blow, Bournemouth then took the lead at Everton meaning that Villa could not afford to concede a goal or else they would drop into the relegation zone.
That seemed to fire Villa up as Mbwana Samatta, John McGinn and Jack Grealish all went close before the break, with Bournemouth then getting another at Goodison following an Everton equaliser.
Villa claim priceless lead
Dean Smith’s men improved considerably after the half-time interval as they threatened the West Ham goal more severely but it was West Ham who actually went closest through Yarmolenko as he lashed a powerful effort into the side-netting. Sebastien Haller then lifted a header over the crossbar.
With Bournemouth getting another goal at Goodison Park, the pressure was on the Villans to secure their survival by edging in front and they did just that through Grealish. The winger was picked out by McGinn on the left and he tricked his way into the box and unleashed a drive that seemed to bamboozle Fabianksi and fly into the back of the net.
West Ham draw level but point enough
Their lead did not last too long though as Yarmolenko equalised in somewhat fortunate circumstances. Lining a shot up on the edge of the box, the ball took a touch off of Grealish himself, looped high up into the air and dropped beyond Pepe Reina and into the back of the net.
Despite that, the point was enough to see Villa finish 17th and stay in the top-flight of English football.
Regardless of their season of trouble, Dean Smith and his Villa charges will not care whatsoever. They remain in the Premier League and deserve it for their form of the past few weeks. The result itself was probably fair and in the end was a priceless one for the Villains.
West Ham United: Fabianski (5); Fredericks (6), Ogbonna (6), Diop (6), Johnson (6); Rice (6), Soucek (7); Fornals (6) (Lanzini (6), 67′), Noble (6) (Anderson (N/A), 87′) , Bowen (5) (Yarmolenko (7), 45′); Antonio (5) (Haller (6), 45′).
Aston Villa: Reina (); Targett (), Mings (), Konsa (), Guilbert (5) (Hause (6), 76′); Hourihane (6) (Nakamba (N/A), 76′), Luiz (), McGinn (); Grealish (), Trezeguet (6) (El Ghazi (N/A), 90′), Samatta (5) (Davis (5), 68′).
Goals: Grealish (84′), Yarmolenko (85′)
Referee: Michael Oliver
Yellow Cards: Antonio (23′), Samatta (41′), Fredericks (85′)
Red Cards: N/A
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