Dear fearful of a Villa backlash

West Ham United v Aston Villa – Premier League – London Stadium – Sunday (2pm) – Preview

Brian Dear is well aware that West Ham United will be facing a totally different Aston Villa side to the one they thrashed 4-1 at Villa Park back in late October.

That day, goals from Ben Johnson, Declan Rice, Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen did the damage against a Villa side seemingly set for a relegation battle. However, the appointment of Steven Gerrard signalled a change in fortune for the West Midlanders, who now find themselves in the top half of the table and having won each of their last three Premier League outings, including thumping triumphs over Southampton and Leeds United.

Picture courtesy of Brian Dear

“They are certainly in a bit of form,” Dear told Yellow Sport.

“Villa have momentum and confidence. They will also be keen to avenge that hammering we dished out to them earlier in the season. We need to dig deep and make sure the boot isn’t on the other foot this time around.

“They are a creative side and will look to swamp and dominate the midfield. We’ve really got our work cut out and need to lift ourselves after the defeats at Liverpool and in Spain.

“Bowen will be a big miss, again. We have matched Liverpool and Sevilla in these last two games but have been wasteful in front of goal. Some of the squad look tired, but with the bench not so strong, we are not in any position to freshen things up.

The former frontman continued: “I maintain that we can get something from the game and surely we can keep missing these big chances. Someone has to take a bit of responsibility up there.

“The next few weeks will be crucial to our hopes of a top-six finish. Villa followed by Tottenham are huge games. We need to be taking four points from six, which is a tough ask.

“We will also need every ounce of energy for the Europa League second leg tie. Unfortunately, and despite the quality we possess in the side, I think the season might be catching up with us.”

Brian Dear’s prediction: West Ham United 2-2 Aston Villa
Jeevesie’s prediction: West Ham United 1-1 Aston Villa

Brian Jeeves