Aston Villa 1-3 West Ham: Jesse Lingard makes dream debut, scoring twice as David Moyes’ men win at Villa Park
A rejuvenated Jesse Lingard scored twice on his West Ham debut to fire David Moyes’ side to an impressive 3-1 win at Aston Villa in the Premier League on Wednesday night.
The one-time England international had been frozen out at Manchester United but looked sharp from the first whistle on his first Premier League start of the season, drilling in with his left and right feet (56 & 83) to take the visitors to victory at Villa Park.
Ollie Watkins had come close to opening the scoring in the first half, curling a shot onto the outside of the post, but West Ham were on top for long periods and Tomas Soucek (51) finished a fine team move for his eighth of the season to give them a deserved lead.
Lingard scored an impressive second himself five minutes later and although Watkins (81) pulled one back, it was the Hammers’ new boy who had the final say, shooting through Emiliano Martinez to make it three away wins on the spin for fifth-placed West Ham. Aston Villa stay ninth.
Aston Villa: Martinez (8), Cash (7), Konsa (7), Mings (7), Targett (6), Luiz (6), McGinn (6), El Ghazi (5), Barkley (6), Grealish (7), Watkins (7).
Subs: Traore (6), Trezeguet (n/a), Sanson (n/a)
West Ham: Fabianski (7), Coufal (8), Dawson (7), Ogbonna (6), Cresswell (7), Fredericks (8), Rice (7), Soucek (8), Lingard (9), Benrahma (8), Antonio (8).
Subs: Fornals (n/a), Johnson (n/a), Bowen (n/a)
Man of the Match: Jesse Lingard
How Lingard starred on his dream debut…
Lingard had made a goal-scoring contribution on his last appearance in the Premier League in July but 192 days on it was a surprise to see him included in Moyes’ starting XI for the first game he was eligible for after his loan switch from Old Trafford. It was a selection which paid off handsomely.
Playing No 10, Lingard linked up impressively with Said Benrahma and Soucek throughout the opening 45 minutes, firing off four shots, including a stinging strike on 16 minutes which Martinez had to parry away.
Michail Antonio also tested the Villa ‘keeper before the hosts almost scored against the run of play on 27 minutes.
Jack Grealish pounced on a miscontrol from Craig Dawson in the West Ham half and played a brilliant reverse pass to Watkins who was in space in the box. The striker bent a shot goalwards but was just off target, clipping the outside of the post.
- There was just one change for Aston Villa, with Anwar El Ghazi coming in for Bertrand Traore
- West Ham made two changes, with Jesse Lingard making his debut and Ryan Fredericks also coming into the side. Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen dropped to the bench
Ross Barkley pulled another good chance wide on the half-hour mark from a Villa set-piece, before West Ham showed what they could do from a free-kick situation, when Aaron Cresswell drew another smart stop from Martinez.
Soucek shot just wide after combining with Lingard and Benrahma as West Ham finished the half on the front foot, and there was also an effort at goal from Vladimir Coufal, who had worked impressively down the right flank with Ryan Fredericks.
Villa sent on Bertrand Traore for the ineffective Anwar El Ghazi at half-time but it was the Hammers who got the breakthrough, scoring with a smart team goal.
Dawson headed a Villa long ball to Antonio who laid off for Benrahma to slot in Soucek, and the Czech drilled the ball across Martinez and into the far corner.
Lingard then beat the Villa ‘keeper in similar fashion from the other side of the area moments later, finishing a West Ham counter-attack by chesting down Antonio’s cross and firing home his first Hammers goal.
West Ham almost went three up on 59 minutes when Ezri Konsa had to make a block in the six-yard box to deny Antonio and Tyrone Mings then had to acrobatically clear an Antonio lob off the goal-line three minutes later as the visitors tried to finish the contest.
Out of nowhere, Villa pulled a goal back when Grealish played in Watkins to slot past Lukasz Fabianski – but Lingard responded within a couple of minutes to wrap up the three points and seal a dream debut, although Martinez should have done better with the shot straight at him.
What the managers said…
West Ham boss David Moyes to BT Sport: “It was an excellent performance. We knew this was tough and after a defeat against Liverpool when we knew we didn’t play that well, to put in that performance gives you an idea of how the players felt about it. We moved on.
“We’re thrilled [with Lingard] because he made a difference to the team. If he keeps up that form it won’t be long until he’s back in the England squad. It was a great opening night for him. Not only the goals – he made the team play better as well. I felt we were a little bit short in areas where we can make chances, and he’s made a difference already.”
Man of the match: Jesse Lingard
It’s hard to believe Jesse Lingard has only had three domestic cup run-outs this season. Despite being shut out from the Manchester United first-team for most of this season, the 28-year-old looked sharp, fit, and energetic at Villa Park.
Throughout the first-half there was a clear air of intent to his play. This was a player with a point to prove. His link-up play with Soucek, Benrahma, and Antonio was exciting and dangerous. He was full of confidence and eager to shoot on sight. And, in the second half, he showed his quality in the key moments.
Across both teams, only Soucek ran further than him, only Benrahma made more sprints. This is a motivated Lingard in good physical condition – and he looks like he’s going to be a real asset to West Ham in the second-half of the season.
One wonders what the onlooking England boss Gareth Southgate made of it…
- West Ham boss David Moyes has overseen three consecutive away wins in the Premier League for the first time since April 2014 when he was in charge of Manchester United (four in a row).
- Aston Villa have lost four of their last six league games (W2); they had only lost four of their opening 14 such matches of the season beforehand.
- West Ham have earned 38 points from their 22 Premier League games this season, their highest tally at this stage of a top-flight campaign since 1985-86, when they had 45 points and would go on to finish third.
- Aston Villa have lost back-to-back Premier League meetings with West Ham for the first time since January 2006.
- Tomas Soucek has scored eight Premier League goals for West Ham this season; excluding penalties, this is the most of any midfielder in the competition.
- Jesse Lingard was only the second player to score twice on his Premier League debut for West Ham, after Trevor Sinclair against Everton in January 1998.
- Since the start of last season, no player has scored more league goals in England’s top two tiers than Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins (34, level with Jamie Vardy and Mo Salah – excluding play-offs).
Aston Villa host Arsenal in a 12.30pm kick-off on Saturday, while West Ham travel to Fulham on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 5pm; kick-off 5.30pm.