West Ham out of EPL bottom 3 after 1-1 draw with Aston Villa
LONDON (AP) Said Benrahma’s penalty earned West Ham a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa and lifted his team back out of the Premier League's relegation zone on Sunday.
The Hammers fell behind to Ollie Watkins' header but Benrahma replied from the spot after Lucas Paqueta was fouled.
West Ham started the day in the bottom three after Bournemouth’s stunning win over Liverpool on Saturday. A victory would have lifted the team into 14th place in a congested bottom half of the standings, but West Ham was unable to find a winner with striker Danny Ings drawing a blank against his old club.
Nonetheless, a draw moved West Ham up to 17th, ahead of Bournemouth on goal difference, and stretched its unbeaten streak against midtable Villa to 10 matches going back to 2015.
The Hammers are the only team in the top flight yet to score in the opening 15 minutes of a match this season, and that trend continued with Nayef Aguerd steering Declan Rice's free kick wide and Benrahma volleying Jarrod Bowen’s cross over the top.
Instead, against the run of play, Villa took the lead in the 17th minute with its first attempt, with Watkins heading in Alex Moreno’s cross. The goal made Watkins the first Villa player to score in four consecutive away matches in the Premier League since Dwight Yorke in 1998.
West Ham hit back in the 26th after Paqueta’s shot was headed off the line by Watkins. The Brazil midfielder went to retrieve the loose ball and was clumsily brought down by Leon Bailey, with Benrahma confidently converting the penalty high into the net past World Cup winner Emiliano Martinez.
Villa should have gone in at halftime ahead after another penetrating run by Moreno, whose pass found Jacob Ramsey in the box. Ramsey squared the ball to Watkins, four meters out, but West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola spread himself and somehow kept the shot out.
Just 20 seconds after the restart, Paqueta’s cross found Benrahma at the far post but his volley was straight at Martinez. Benrahma was in the mood for more goals and he skipped past Matty Cash and Ezri Konsa on the edge of the area before hitting a fierce drive that Martinez tipped over.
Rice survived a VAR check for a challenge in the area on Emi Buendia which prompted a bout of pushing and shoving, with West Ham’s frustration at Villa’s incessant timewasting beginning to show.
Both teams could have won it late on. Benrahma’s volley at the far post deflected wide off Villa substitute Ashley Young and Jhon Duran’s close-range shot was clutched by Areola.
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Updated March 12, 2023