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Hammers soar into top four by thrashing 10-man Villa, Leeds ease pressure

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31st October, 2021
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West Ham thrashed 10-man Aston Villa 4-1 on Monday (AEDT) to move into the top four in the Premier League and round off a wonderful week for David Moyes’ side.

The Hammers defeated London rivals Tottenham last weekend and reached the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup with a penalty shoot-out victory against holders Manchester City, before putting 10-man Villa to the sword.

At Villa Park home manager boss Dean Smith will feel everything that could go wrong did go wrong as his team slipped to a fourth successive Premier League defeat.

Long-range strikes from Ben Johnson and Declan Rice saw Moyes’ men head into half-time in front, after Ollie Watkins had equalised for the hosts.

Ezri Konsa’s red card shortly after the break gave Villa an uphill task and further goals from Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen inside the final 10 minutes settled the contest.

Konsa was booked for knocking Bowen to the ground on the edge of the box, but after VAR intervened his yellow card upgraded to red for preventing a goal scoring opportunity.

“It wasn’t a red card, ” said Villa boss Dean Smith. “The referee saw it in real time and thought the ball was going towards the goal. It amazes me, it wasn’t going towards the goal – and Ashley Young was covering. That staggers me.”

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The Hammers’ three successes in a week are beyond the dreams of Norwich who lost 2-1 to Leeds.

Including the 2019-20 season, which ended in relegation, the Canaries have now gone 20 Premier League matches without a win, losing 18, scoring four goals and conceding 49.

The contest with Leeds sprang to life in a frantic four-minute spell after the break, with Rodrigo firing Leeds ahead in the 56th minute as he cut inside two defenders and drove in a low shot.

Norwich levelled two minutes later when 19-year old defender Andrew Omobamidele rose above his markers to beat Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier with a towering header which went in off the underside of the bar.

The home side’s joy was short-lived, however, as Rodrigo forced another twist on the hour mark with a swerving low shot which squeezed in under home keeper Tim Krul. Norwich pressed in the closing stages but failed to trouble the visitors.

Norwich boss Daniel Farke said: “This game sums up the story of the season. We have played the top three – at home to Liverpool, away to Manchester City, away to Chelsea – and let’s be honest we had no chance.

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“All the other games were competitive, close, tight and we get many compliments. We are many times the better side but we are not playing for words, we are playing for points.”

© AAP

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