You can tell a lot about a good team by their results against sides below them in the table. 

The odd win against the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City won’t keep us up in the dizzy heights of the top six. It’s the games against teams like Burnley, QPR and today’s opponents Aston Villa that really do matter.

We’ve got momentum behind us and it’s clear there’s a type of confidence surrounding the club that many haven’t experienced in years, including the players. The good times are returning and it feels good.

A win today could see as back in the top four, which would be nice. Diafra Sakho is expected to return from his shoulder injury, while we may also catch a glimpse of Andy Carroll. Remember him? Our club record signing. Will be great to finally see him back.

Aston Villa are having a nightmare at the moment and you have to expect us to continue that for them today. They’ve lost six league games on the bounce, scoring just one and conceding 15 in the process, and have their best striker suspended for three games.

The expectation today is that we take it to Villa from the first whistle and run riot. Exploit them and really show ourselves and the rest of the Premier League that we’re not where we are by fluke, that we can challenge consistently in the top half of the table.

But this is West Ham. Who knows what will happen.

Prediction: Three points.

Team News

West Ham United (5th, 17 points)

Winston Reid faces a late fitness test after limping off during last week’s draw with Stoke.

But Diafra Sakho is expected to return from a shoulder injury after sitting out last weekend, while Andy Carroll could feature for the first time this season after recovering from an ankle injury.

Aston Villa (16th, 10 points)

Christina Benteke starts a three match ban after his red card against Tottenham last weekend.

Philippe Senderos could return from a thigh problem.

Possible Starting XI

Last 10 Meetings

8 Feb 2014Premier LeagueVilla ParkW 2-0
2 Nov 2013Premier LeagueBoleyn GroundD 0-0
10 Feb 2013Premier LeagueVilla ParkL 2-1
18 Aug 2012Premier LeagueBoleyn GroundW 1-0
16 Apr 2011Premier LeagueBoleyn GroundL 2-1
14 Aug 2010Premier LeagueVilla ParkL 3-0
17 Jan 2010Premier LeagueVilla ParkD 0-0
4 Nov 2009Premier LeagueBoleyn GroundW 2-1
18 Apr 2009Premier LeagueVilla ParkD 1-1
20 Dec 2008Premier LeagueBoleyn GroundL 1-0

Match in Numbers

150 – Sam Allardyce will take charge of his 150th games as Hammers manager today

19 – West Ham’s return of 19 goals from their opening ten league games is their best goal scoring start to a season for 28 years.

203 – Mark Noble will match a club record 203 Premier League appearances for West Ham today

3 – West Ham have kept clean sheets in three of their last four meetings with Villa

8 – The Hammers have scored eight headed goals this season, which is a divisional high

2 – Villa have won just two of their last 14 top-flight games at Upton Park

6 – Paul Lambert’s side have lost their six games

4 – Andreas Weimann has been involved in four of Villa’s five league goals this season (three goals, one assist)

11 – And Villa have lost 11 of their last 12 Premier League games against London clubs

Betting Offer

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West Ham betting offer

Fan Predictions

Head-to-Head (all competitions)

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