Aston Villa thrash West Ham to close on Premier League top four

AFP , Sunday 22 Oct 2023

Aston Villa climbed to within two points of the Premier League lead as Douglas Luiz struck twice in a 4-1 win over West Ham on Sunday.

Aston Villa
Aston Villa s English striker #11 Ollie Watkins (L) celebrates with teammates after scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and West Ham United at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on October 22, 2023. AFP

 

Ollie Watkins and Leon Bailey were also on target as Unai Emery's men recorded an 11th consecutive home Premier League win.

Villa have been transformed in just over a year since Emery took charge and showed why they harbour ambitions to qualify for the Champions League for the first time this season.

Luiz is just one of a number of players that are performing at a different level under the Spaniard and continued his scoring streak at Villa Park.

The Brazilian became the first Villa player to score in six consecutive home Premier League games when his strike from the edge of the box had too much power for Alphonse Areola in the West Ham goal on 30 minutes.

Emery's men arguably deserved to lead by more than a single goal at half-time.

But Luiz took the chance to double his side's advantage from the penalty spot early in the second period after Edson Alvarez tripped Ezri Konsa.

Jarrod Bowen reduced West Ham's arrears just five minutes later when his shot spun off Pau Torres into the far corner for his 100th career goal.

However, any hope of a Hammers' fightback was snuffed out by the in-form Watkins.

Fresh from scoring the winner against Australia for England in a rare run out at international level as Harry Kane's understudy, Watkins blasted in his eighth goal of the season from a narrow angle.

Bailey then exemplified the impressive attacking arsenal that Villa have amassed in recent transfer windows.

The Jamaican was left on the bench as Nicolo Zaniolo started despite being the subject of an investigation from Italian prosecutors over a betting scandal.

But Bailey made the most of his 15 minutes on the field as he cut inside Nayef Aguerd with a step over and fired into the top corner.

Villa climb up to fifth in the table, but within striking distance of leaders Manchester City.

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